The link between contact lenses and dry eyes
Those who frequently wear contact lenses will be familiar with some of the issues they can cause – namely, dry and irritated eyes that make wearing lenses an unpleasant experience.
But you don’t need to go ahead and throw your contact lenses in the bin just yet. Instead of resigning yourself to a life of glasses, read on and we’ll share our top tips on how to relieve dry eyes and overall maintain positive eye health.
In this article:
- 🔎 The causes of dry eye
- 👀 Contact lenses and dry eyes: why it happens
- 👉 Tips to relieve dry eyes
What causes dry eyes?
Dry eye symptoms can be more uncomfortable than a week long trip with your in laws. The irritation, the stinging, itching or even burning can make the pain of dry eyes quickly unbearable. All of this can also lead to swollen, red eyes that are more sensitive to light than Dracula.
Weirdly enough, the dryness can also actually encourage excessive tearing. It’s as frustrating as being someone who cries when they’re angry.
But the actual causes of dry eye and all its fun effects can vary. Dry eye syndrome can be caused by a variety of factors:
- 🤧 Allergies and/or hay fever.
- 🏙 Reaction to the environment: dust, pollution, too dry air, air conditioning etc.
- 💊 Certain treatments such as certain antidepressants, antihistamines, and painkillers. Tobacco can also have an effect.
- 🩺 Diseases such as conjunctivitis, keratitis, or diabetes.
- 👁 In the aftermath of eye surgery.
- 🖥 Prolonged exposure to screens without proper, effective blue light protection.
- 👴🏼 Unfortunately aging can cause eye dryness. After age 60, the amount of tears decreases and the eyes dry out more frequently.
- 👁🗨 Wearing contact lenses that are not suitable, of poor quality, or not properly adhering to hygiene rules with their use.
If you consistently suffer from dry eyes, however, it’s essential you consult a professional to find the precise cause and start appropriate treatment.
Contact lenses and dry eyes: the link
Annoyingly, because contact lenses can be a main cause of eye irritation. That’s because when you place your contact lenses, you rest them on a tear film that protects the cornea; however, if your lenses aren’t exactly curved to your specific eye shape, they can instead cause this tear film to thin or break, leading to irritation.
Also, simply by placing a contact lens over a tear film you are disrupting the barrier between the cornea and outside air. That means it has more difficulty in pulling in oxygen and will encourage tear production.
But don’t panic, and don’t throw your contact lenses away. There are steps you can take in your eye care routine to reduce the likelihood of contact lenses causing dry eyes, and still keep wearing them.
Horus X’s recommendations for the prevention and cure of dry eyes
There are a few easy tips that will cure your dry eyes and have you back in your contact lenses in no time:
🕵️♂️ Pay attention to the contact lenses composition
Only a proper health professional can tell you which lenses are best for dry eyes. Therefore, it’s always best to consult your ophthalmologist on what the best contact lenses are for your specific eye health needs.
👉 Because up is down, contact lenses with a high-water content (or hydrogel lenses) actually dry the eye more easily! That’s because the water evaporates faster, which forces the lens to tap into the tear film to maintain its shape.
Silicone hydrogel lenses, on the other hand, require less hydration (20% less) than conventional hydrogel lenses). This means they’re less likely to tap against your eye’s tear film.
This is why it’s always advisable to check your contact lenses composition and listen to your eye doctor’s recommendation!
🧐Choosing soft or rigid lenses
The most common type of lens used is soft contact lenses. These are hydrophilic, which means they consume more water and are more prone to drying out your eyes.
That’s exactly why the aforementioned silicone hydrogel lenses were invented. They allow more oxygen to pass through to the cornea than a conventional soft lens, thus irritating the eye less.
For sufferers of dry eyes though, we recommend a more rigid contact lens. However, wearer beware, these will take longer to acclimatize to than the more traditional soft lenses.
👉 Daily hygiene and maintenance tips for your contact lenses
Wearing contact lenses involves respecting certain basic rules to avoid dry eye symptoms or other complications:
- 📆 Avoid wearing contacts every day and opt for eyeglasses 2 to 3 days a week to rest your eyes 🤓
- 🧼 Always wash your hands before handling your contact lenses, you filthy animal
- ✅ Redo your maintenance fluid every day and clean/change your lens box regularly
- 💤 Easier said than done, but try to avoid falling asleep with your lenses in
- 📝 Keep up with your eye care by actually read the terms and conditions. In particular, how long the maximum wearing time is.
- 👓 Stick on a pair of anti-blue light glasses when you're in front of a screen.
💡 Important: if you suffer from eye dryness aggravated by wearing lenses, consider trying out daily ones instead of the usual long-term pairs.
The best remedies for dry eyes
We have a whole host of natural remedies for dry eyes you can check out, but fundamentally if they are caused by your contact lenses then you need to take extra steps. Chronic dry eye sufferers could try artificial tears (eye drops) available in your local drug stores, or on prescription.
There are also a few other things you can try:
- Blink regularly
- Take breaks away from screens
- Wear sunglasses outside
- Drink herbal teas to help soothe dry eyes
- Practice eye massages for light relief
But most importantly, if your dry eyes continue for long periods of time, and don’t seem to get any relief despite your best efforts, then consult your ophthalmologist and get an eye exam!
💡 Just in case you didn’t know: blue blocking light contact lenses exist! However, we still advise you to opt for glasses with good protection to avoid dry eyes over these.
Contact lenses and dry eyes: Final thoughts
Contact lenses can cause dry eyes because they sit on the eye’s tear film, weakening it.
Some contact lenses dry out more because of their composition. Choose soft silicone hydrogel lenses or rigid lenses to lessen the likelihood of this occurring.
Screen time can lead to dry eyes. Even if you wear blue light blocking contact lenses, we still advise putting on a pair of blue light glasses on top. Especially if you’re going to spend the next 4 weeks glued to Diablo 4.
Contact lenses can dry out your eyes but with some simple steps you can lessen this occurring. Make sure you don’t wear your lenses every single day, follow their instructions for use to the letter, use eye drops if necessary and always always seek professional advice.