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Can You Wear Contacts With Dry Eyes?

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A man rubbing his eyes while working in his office.

If you suffer from dry eyes, you might be wondering if you can still wear contact lenses. The good news is, you totally can! It may sound a bit surprising, but certain contact lenses like moisture-rich contact lenses can actually help reduce those pesky dry eye symptoms. 

They act as a protective barrier, shielding your eyes from the elements like wind, dust, and other irritants. Plus, they even help trap moisture, keeping your eyes nice and moist. With the right contact lenses, you can enjoy the convenience of contacts while managing your dry eye symptoms.

What Causes Dry Eyes?

Dry eyes occur when the eyes don’t produce enough tears or when the tears evaporate too quickly. This can be caused by a variety of factors, including:

What Are the Symptoms of Dry Eyes?

Dry eyes can be a frustrating and uncomfortable condition, but it’s important to understand the symptoms so you can take the necessary steps to treat it. Common symptoms of dry eyes include:

  • A gritty or sandy feeling in the eyes
  • Blurred vision
  • Redness and irritation
  • Excessive tearing (as a result of your eyes trying to compensate for dryness)

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s important to speak with an eye care professional for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Types of Contact Lenses for Dry Eyes

Contact lenses can be a viable option for individuals suffering from dry eyes, helping to improve their quality of life. However, not all contact lenses are created equal, and some are better suited for those with dry eyes. Specifically designed lenses possess specific properties that aid in retaining moisture.

A few types of contact lenses that may be beneficial are:

  • Silicone hydrogel lenses. These soft lenses allow more oxygen to reach the eye, reducing dryness.
  • Daily disposable lenses. These lenses are discarded after each use, reducing potential build-up and irritation.
  • Scleral lenses. These larger lenses cover a larger area of the eye, retaining moisture and helping to provide relief for severely dry eyes.

Apart from these types of contact lenses, there are also specialized solutions and eye drops that can be used to help ease dryness. But remember, contact lenses can help manage dry eye symptoms, but they’re not a cure. Make sure you consult an eye care professional to choose the right lens type for your specific needs and lifestyle.

Tips for Wearing Contact Lenses with Dry Eyes

A woman in a striped shirt drinking a glass of water.

While contact lenses can help provide clearer vision and more convenience for those with dry eyes, it’s important to take proper care and precautions to avoid exacerbating the condition. Here are some tips for wearing contacts with dry eyes:

  • Keep your contacts clean. It’s important to properly clean and disinfect your lenses as instructed by your eye care professional.
  • Use rewetting drops. These drops can help add moisture to your eyes and contact lenses throughout the day.
  • Take breaks. If your eyes are feeling particularly dry, take a break from wearing contacts and switch to glasses for a day or two.
  • Avoid wearing contacts too long. It’s important to follow the recommended wear time and not overwear your contact lenses, as this can further dry out your eyes.
  • Avoid environmental triggers. Certain factors like smoke, wind, and air conditioning can contribute to dry eyes. Try to avoid these triggers as much as possible while wearing contacts.
  • Stay hydrated. Drinking plenty of water can help keep your eyes and contact lenses hydrated.
  • Consider switching to a different lens type. If your current lens is causing discomfort, talk to your eye care professional about trying a different type of lens that may be better suited for dry eyes.
  • Follow up with your eye care professional. Be sure to schedule regular appointments with your optometrist to monitor the health of your eyes and contact lenses. Your eye doctor may also be able to provide additional tips or solutions for managing dry eyes while wearing contacts.

Get Professional Help from Vision Care Grayslake

If you’re thinking about wearing contacts but have dry eyes, it’s important to seek professional help. Our team at Vision Care Grayslake is here for you! We can provide professional advice and guidance on managing your dry eyes while wearing contacts safely. We can help you find the most appropriate type of contact lens that suits your eyes and lifestyle. Our goal is to help you protect your eyes and maintain healthy vision. Contact us today for a consultation.

Written by Dr. Charlotte Nielsen

Dr. Nielsen is a member of the Illinois Optometric Association (IOA) and the American Optometric Association (AOA). She has held several offices in the IOA, including president, and received the “Young Optometrist of the Year” from the IOA in 2000. Currently, she is the Illinois Key Person Coordinator for the AOA, and recipient of the Optometric Recognition Award from the AOA. Dr. Nielsen was named Illinois College of Optometry’s Alumna of the Year in 2008.
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