Contact lenses can irritate the wearer’s eyes, especially if they’re worn overnight or for periods longer than the recommended duration of use. Dry eye syndrome is the most common condition associated with experiencing discomfort while wearing contact lenses. Over time, the lenses themselves can dry out and aggravate the symptoms of this condition.
Eye drops and artificial tears can help to alleviate dry eye symptoms and restore the tear film that protects the eye. When contact lenses irritate an eye through overuse, the tear film can become damaged, leaving sections of the cornea exposed to the air and particulate matter. Lubricating eye drops are composed of the same mixture of mucus, natural oils, and water that comprises your own tears and are a great option for occasional dryness from contact lenses
There are many brands of artificial tears and eye drops on the market, but here are a few to try:
When searching for the brand that’s right for you, take care not to buy anything but lubricating artificial tears. Other brands of commercial eye drops can actually irritate your eyes and exacerbate the symptoms of dry eye, making it impossible to continue wearing contact lenses. The best thing for your eyes is exactly what they’d produce if they were healthy. We also recommend preservative free drops, as you can see above, because they do not add any extra preservatives or irritants into your eyes.
You may also consult with your optometrist to see if changing the brand of contact lenses you wear might help reduce symptoms of dry eye. A few brands of contact lenses are specially formulated to lubricate your eyes over the course of the day, making it much less intrusive and painful to keep them in for long periods of time. Also, daily disposable contact lenses have become a wonderful option for dry eye because you are using a fresh lens daily. What have you found to be beneficial for dry eye while wearing contact lenses? We’d love to hear about it!
Dr. Travis Zigler