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5 Solutions for Contact Lens Dryness | Best Contacts For Dry Eye

February 23, 2021 5 min read


According to allaboutvision.com, “Dry eye syndrome is a common problem among contact lens wearers and non-wearers alike. But symptoms of dry eye can be more pronounced if you wear contact lenses and your contacts start to dry out. Dry eye is a common cause of contact lens discomfort.”

For anyone who has ever worn contact lenses for any length of time, you are well aware of the itchy, scratchy, dry sensations that can occur. We're going to go over a few ways in which you can decrease this discomfort and get back to happily wearing those lenses again.

5 Simple Solutions For Contact Lens-Induced Dry Eyes

1. Try a Moisturizing Eyelid Cleanser

When the eyes are irritated and dry, it's often due to blepharitis and meibomian gland dysfunction, which may be caused by overgrowths of bacteria and debris on the eyelids. It's best to begin a daily eyelid cleansing routine with a cleanser intended to moisturize and clean the delicate eyelids. This will help prevent any issues moving forward.


Lid & Lash Cleanser

Heyedrate Lid and Lash Cleanser

A hypochlorous acid based cleanser is often one of the best to use because it contains minimal ingredients. The Heyedrate Lid and Lash Cleanser is also non-irritating due to its lack of preservatives. Simply spray the solution onto closed eyelids and rub in (alternatively, you may use a cotton ball or round for application). After that, you'll just let it dry. It's that simple to keep your eyes feeling refreshed!

2. Switch to a Daily Disposable 

Contact lenses for dry eyes refers to new technology that reduces contact lens-induced dry eye symptoms, which are the leading cause of people discontinuing contact lens usage. Daily disposable contact lenses may be your next best defense against irritation. These lenses are replaced daily and are never reused. They are intended to be a convenient and healthy way for people to wear contact lenses, whether they wear them every day or just for special occasions. By using a daily lens, you avoid any build-up of allergens, proteins, and bacteria that often accumulate on contact lenses. We'll go over a few great options later in the article.

3. Switch to a Preservative-Free Solution, like ClearCare

A hydrogen peroxide care system, like ClearCare, may be the answer for those who need to use solution (mainly, anyone not using a daily disposable contact lens). Some people have adverse reactions to multi-purpose solutions and would do better with solutions that provide a deeper clean without the preservatives. ClearCare does this, and it's simple to use. You place your contact lenses in the special case, which comes with the solution when you purchase it, fill the container, and let it sit for at least 6 hours. This gives the hydrogen peroxide time to work and neutralize so that your lenses are squeaky clean and comfortable when you put them in after the allotted time. 

4. Wear Glasses Part Time

We know you're not going to like this one, but you need to give your eyes a break every once in awhile. You should already be taking your lenses out at night (ideally, right when you get home from work!) and leaving them off while you sleep. However, when you're experiencing contact lens induced dry eye or discomfort, it's best to stop wearing them altogether for a few days and put on your prescription glasses to see if your comfort improves. This allows your eyes to breathe and take in the nutrients that contact lenses often block, and it gives your eyes time to heal. If you don't notice improvement in your dryness or red eyes within a few days, you should see your eye doctor for a thorough evaluation.

5. Use a Preservative Free Artificial Tear

Sometimes, your eyes just need a little extra moisture. That's where a preservative free artificial tear can come into play, but make sure you're not using a redness reliever drop. It's best to use drops when you are not wearing lenses (when you're taking that much needed break!), but they can be used over contact lenses as long as they contain no preservatives. Artificial tears can provide symptom relief for a time, but they're never going to be the cure for your discomfort. 

Bonus Tip: Remove ALL of Your Makeup at Night

It's amazing to me that people still go to bed with makeup on. Yikes! Clean those eyelids well, and you'll enjoy comfortable eyes during your contact lens wear. Leaving makeup debris, bacteria, and dead skin cells sitting on your eyelids all night is just going to put you at higher risk for styes, blepharitis, MGD, and other contact lens complications. We recommend using an oil based cleanser, such as the Heyedrate Eye Makeup Remover Oil.

Purchase Heyedrate Eye Makeup Remover


Dry Eye Symptoms With Contacts

Some of the ocular symptoms you may experience when you have contact lens induced irritation are:

  • Dryness
  • Discomfort or pain with or without lenses in
  • Grittiness or sandpaper feeling
  • Irritation
  • Burning or stinging
  • Foreign body sensation
  • Redness
  • Watering or tearing

Dry Eyes After Contacts

Why do we often notice dry eyes while wearing contact lenses? It's been shown that up to 50% of contact lens wearers experience dryness and irritation! This can occur for many reasons, but the main reason contact lens wearers experience dryness is because contact lenses cause an increase in evaporation of the tear film.

Your tear film is composed of three layers: a mucin layer that keeps the tears attached to your eye, an aqueous layer which is the watery part of your tears, and a lipid layer which provides the oil and prevents evaporation. When any part of this tear film is disrupted, dryness can occur. Contact lenses specifically attack the lipid layer of the tears, which increases evaporation and causes irritation for even those who have the strongest and healthiest of tear films.

In addition, increased tear osmolarity (or an increase in the saltiness of your tears) occurs during contact lens wear. This can increase inflammation and contribute to dry eye symptoms as well.

Best Contacts For Dry Eyes | Contact Lenses for Dry Eyes

There are quite a few wonderful contact lens options on the market now which are intended to be healthier and more comfortable for contact lens wearers who experience dry eyes. All of these suggestions are daily disposable lenses, but keep in mind that if your current contact lenses are comfortable and not causing issues for you, there is no reason to switch. However, if you've ever noticed dryness with your current lenses, one of these options should be considered.

Acuvue Oasys 1-Day contact lenses are silicone hydrogel daily disposable lenses that provide all-day comfort, vision and exceptional handling with an exclusive HydraLuxe™ Technology. This contact lens has tear-like properties that provide all-day comfort and performance by working with your natural tear film. In my experience in clinic, these work very well for most patients with dry eyes.

Dailies TOTAL1 contact lenses are another great option. It is the first and only daily disposable contact lens to offer water gradient technology, which means that when it touches your eye it'll be like a cushion of moisture. SmarTears®  Technology in these lenses features the release of an ingredient found naturally in your tears which can help to stabilize your tear film as well. These lenses work incredibly well for patients with symptoms of dry eye.

I hope these tips and contact lens suggestions have been helpful for you. Do you experience dryness with contact lenses? What have you found to be really helpful?


One Love,

Dr. Jenna Zigler SeeOO Of Eye Love