Contact Lenses For Dry Eyes
Probably the most common complaint eye doctors hear from contact lens wearers is, “My contacts make my eyes feel dry.”
Dry eye disease is a condition in which your eyes do not produce enough tears to properly lubricate the ocular surface. Dry eye affects millions of people worldwide and is one of the most common reasons patients visit an Optometrist. Without proper treatment, dry eye can lead to eye infections, scarring and vision loss.
Because contact lenses form a barrier between the cornea of the eye and the outside air, the flow of oxygen is reduced, creating an environment in which the eyes feel itchy and uncomfortable. Hard contact lenses do a better job of allowing more oxygen to flow through the material, however they are harder to get used to. Soft contact lenses on the other hand have a much shorter “break-in” cycle and are quite easy to get used to. The drawback of soft contact lenses is that they have a much lower flow of oxygen due to the material used to build the lenses.
Improved Soft Contact Lens Technology
While we have performed a large number of contact lens examinations and have a wide variety of contact lenses available, we normally recommend a patient that has dry eye disease to stay away from contact lenses if at all possible.
However, with recent improvements in soft contact lens technology, we are now fitting patients who suffer from dry eyes with a couple of specific brands that have been proven to be gentler on the eyes.
What are the best contact lenses for dry eye?
The criteria that we highlight for contact lenses suitable for dry eye are:
- Soft Hydrogel lenses with low water content. Soft lenses usually have a high water content which allows the lens to absorb tears and moisture from your eyes which contributes to dry eye. Lenses that have a lower water content and surface coating will reduce the lens’ ability to absorb tears from your eye.
- Silicone Hydrogel contact lenses. These lenses require oxygen rather than water to maintain their shape and optical effectiveness, otherwise known as oxygen permeability. This has the effect of reducing the need for the lens to absorb tears and moisture from your eyes.
- Daily disposables with additional moisturizing components. When you blink your eyes, the lens releases moisture from within the lens itself. Because this keeps the contact lens hydrated, it reduces the absorption of tears from the eyes.
Acuvue Oasys One Day. These lenses are designed with HydraLuxe™ Technology which helps to keep your eyes feeling comfortable throughout the day.
This contact lens has tear-like components (not just water like in many lenses) that work with your natural tear film each day, providing all-day performance and excellent comfort, vision and handling.
We have had good feedback from our patients who have tried these lenses, specifically maintaining the feeling of eye moisture.
Cooper My Day. this lens combines a daily replacement regime with hydrogen silicone technology. It uses a material called stenfilicon A, which forms the silicon matrix of the lens into channels, making the lens more efficient at delivering oxygen to the cornea.
As a result, a lower silicon content of only 4.4% is required, which means that the lens is able to be more hydrophilic or wettable, leading to greater comfort.
The contact is available in a daily wear mode and we have also seen good results from our dry eye patients using these lenses.
Restasis – an Additional Treatment for Dry Eyes
In some cases, we are able to prescribe Restasis eye drops to help alleviate the symptoms of dry eyes. Restasis works by increasing the amount of tears your eyes make. We normally write a prescription for one drop in each eye twice a day. Dr. Reinders will let you know if these drops are compatible with your contact lenses.
Dr. Reinders has been providing dry eye treatment for many patients in the Burnsville and surrounding areas for many years. If you have been experiencing dry itchy eyes, it might be dry eye syndrome, eye allergies or perhaps something else. Your best course of action is to call us today and make an appointment to take care of your eye health.
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Burnsville, MN 55337