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How to Manage Dry Eye If You Wear Contact Lenses

It is commonly assumed that Dry Eye Syndrome and contact lenses don’t mix. However, it is possible to wear contacts if you have Dry Eye, it’s just not easy.

 

Contact lenses can aggravate Dry Eye because the presence of the lens on the cornea limits oxygen flow into the eye, and oxygen is necessary to develop natural tears.1

 

The lens material also limits tear exchange between the outer and inner layers of the eye. Soft contact lenses also absorb moisture from your eye to stay hydrated and soft, hence why your eyes can feel dry and itchy after hours of wearing them.2

 

Luckily, there are several things you can do to make contact lens use with Dry Eye Syndrome more comfortable.

 

  • Practice good hand hygiene:

 

This minimises the risk of  transferring germs from fingers to the lens, which can cause infections and aggravate existing dry eye problems.3

 

  • Never sleep with your contacts in:

 

Unless you use extended-wear lenses or ortho-k lenses, never sleep with your contact lenses in. Sleeping in your contacts can often happen by accident, but it makes you 6 times more likely to get an eye infection.4

 

  • Use new contact lens solution every day:

 

Don’t top up or reuse contact solution from one day to the next. It is much better for your eyes to empty out the solution as soon as you’ve taken out the contacts, and replace it with fresh liquid. Reusing contact lens solution can lead to infection and inflammation, which increases the severity of Dry Eye symptoms.5

 

  • Always change to a fresh pair of lenses as directed:

 

It is normal to accidentally use a pair of contacts beyond their recommended time if we are busy and forget to switch to a new pair. It seems relatively harmless, but can lead to a build-up of debris on the lens surface.6 This can be very damaging to the eyes, increasing the risk of irritation and infection.

 

  • Go contact lens free for a few hours a day:

 

Your eyes need to breathe, as without oxygen and nutrients they can’t make enough tears. Give your eyes a break from contact lenses for a few hours a day, every day, preferably before bed.7

 

  • Use eye drops that are contact lens friendly:

 

Not all eye drops can be used with contact lenses, and even when you find some that are, they need to be effective in treating Dry Eye.8

 

All of the VisuFamily range of products are contact lens friendly and designed to provide long lasting protection and relief to improve the quality of life for patients living with Dry Eye Syndrome.

For more information about eye drops that are contact lens friendly, visit the VISUfarma website.

 

References

  1. Specsavers, ‘Your Guide to Wearing Contact Lenses for Dry Eyes’, Accessed Sep 2021:.https://www.specsavers.co.uk/contact-lenses/eye-conditions-symptoms/contact-lenses-for-dry-eyes
  2. Lazarus, Russell. ‘Burning Eyes at Night’ Optometrists Network, 6th February 2021. https://www.optometrists.org/general-practice-optometry/guide-to-eye-conditions/dry-eye/guide-to-eye-drops/burning-eyes-at-night/ Last accessed Sep 2021
  3. Kellogg Eye Center, University of Michigan Health System. (no date). Signs of Infection from Contact Lenses. Accesed Sep 2021: http://www.med.umich.edu/1libr/Ophthalmology/ContactLens/SignsofInfectionfromContactLenses.pdf
  4. Joy, Rebecca. ‘Why Sleeping in Contacts May Endanger Your Eyes’, Healthline, July 2019, Accessed Sep 2021: https://www.healthline.com/health/eye-health/sleeping-with-contacts
  5. Miller, Korin. ‘8 Contact Lens Rules People With Dry Eyes Should Always Follow’, Self, Sep 2018, Accessed Sep 2021: https://www.self.com/story/contact-lens-rules-dry-eyes
  6.   Kellogg Eye Center, University of Michigan Health System. (no date). Signs of Infection from Contact Lenses. Accesed Sep 2021: http://www.med.umich.edu/1libr/Ophthalmology/ContactLens/SignsofInfectionfromContactLenses.pdf
  7.   Miller, Korin. ‘8 Contact Lens Rules People With Dry Eyes Should Always Follow’, Self, Sep 2018, Accessed Sep 2021: https://www.self.com/story/contact-lens-rules-dry-eyes
  8. Young, Erica. ‘The Best Eye Drops for Your Contact Lenses’. Healthcare Weekly, June 2021, Accessed Sep 2021:https://healthcareweekly.com/eye-drops-for-contacts/

 

Date of preparation: September 2021 VISU/UK/ALL/0289

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