Contact lenses and dry eye (2023)

Contact lenses and dry eye (1)

Have you ever experienced dry, itchy or tired eyes while wearing contact lenses? If so, you may be suffering from dry eye syndrome.

Many people prefer to wear contact lenses for practical or cosmetic reasons. Contact lenses certainly have many benefits, but they can also cause eye irritation and dryness. This doesn't mean you have to ditch your lenses for glasses, but you do need to find out if your lenses cause dryness.

Why do contact lenses dry out the eyes?

The eyes are designed to be constantly hydrated. The surface of the eye is covered with a tear film that protects, oxygenates and moisturizes the eye.

Contact lenses are placed directly on the tear film, cornea and iris. If there is not enough fluid, the tear film can no longer protect the eye. The eyes are no longer sufficiently hydrated, resulting in dry eyes.

In addition, when you wear contact lenses, it is difficult for the cornea to absorb the oxygen it needs from the air. Use insteadtearseyes, which dries out the eye and puts you at risk of developing dry eye syndrome.

There are several reasons why contact lenses can irritate the surface of the eye:

  • They may not be suitable for your vision or the curvature of your eyes.
  • They can be of poor quality and absorb a lot of tears.

That's why it's important to be very careful when choosing your lenses if you're experiencing dry eye symptoms.

What are the best contact lenses for dry eyes?

Soft or hard lenses?

Ninety percent of contact lens wearers choose soft lenses. However, these lenses are hydrophilic, which means they have a special affinity for water: they act like a sponge, absorbing the tear film.

Therefore, hard lenses are better suited for dry eyes because they have a very low water content and therefore do not deprive the eye of tear fluid. However, it takes longer to get used to hard lenses, from several weeks to several months.

If you don't want to wear hard lenses, a new generation of lenses has been specially developed for dry eyes. Silicone hydrogel lenses provide better oxygenation of the cornea, allowing five times more oxygen to pass than traditional lenses.

(Video) Can I Wear Contact Lenses With Dry Eye? | Best Contact Lenses for Dry Eye

Pay attention to the water content!

What is the water content? Refers to the percentage of water in the lens. Low water content contact lenses are more suitable for dry eyes. The higher the water content, the more water the lens needs, which means it will absorb tear fluid if there is not enough of it. Choosing lenses with a low water content reduces the risk of dryness caused by the absorption of tears.

Should I choose daily, bi-monthly or monthly contact lenses if I have dry eyes?

Daily contact lenses are usually recommended if you have a dry eye. Because they are changed daily, no deposits build up on their surface, which keeps bacteria out of your eyes.

What should you remember when wearing glasses?
  • It is important not to use them longer than the manufacturer indicates on the package.
  • Don't sleep with your lenses on - this can cause complications or worsen your dry eye condition.
  • Remember to blink regularly to spread the tear film in your eyes.
  • Choose daily contact lenses. If this is not possible, be sure to sterilize the lens case to prevent bacterial growth and clean the lenses with a suitable solution after each use.
  • It uses artificial tears without preservatives to compensate for the lack of hydration in a short time.
  • Protect your eyes from the environment (air conditioning, cigarette smoke, wind, etc.).
  • Choose glasses when watching TV or using a computer.


(Video) Best Contacts for Dry Eyes | How to Fix Dry Eyes with Contacts | Doctor Eye Health


Contact lenses and dry eye (2)

(Video) Top 5 BEST CONTACT LENSES For Dry Eyes - Dry Eye Contacts Review




(Video) Scleral Lenses: How To Treat Dry Eye With Contacts!

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Here are some articles that may interest you.


Is it OK to wear contact lenses with dry eyes? ›

You may question whether you can still wear contacts with dry eyes. The answer is yes. While standard contact lenses may not work for everyone, a wide selection of contact lenses can work for those suffering from dry eyes. Determining the best type of contact lens for you involves an eye evaluation.

How do you treat contact lens induced dry eyes? ›

Recommend moist heat compress therapy.

These findings suggest that moist heat compress treatment could be an effective first-line treatment for contact lens wearers who have discomfort. Those who used the moist heat compress increased comfortable wear time of their contact lenses by up to three hours.”

Can contacts cause permanent dry eye? ›

Contacts can sometimes be the cause of both temporary and chronic dry eye. For example, temporary dry eye can occur because you wear your contacts too long. Talk to your doctor if you wear contacts and you have had dry eye for a long time. They may recommend a different type of contact lens, or other changes for you.

Can you rehydrate a dried contact lens? ›

To rehydrate your contact lenses, soak them in a contact case filled with fresh solution for at least 24 hours. Ideally, this should revitalize a lens that has been left out and dried up. Carefully reinsert the lens into your eye. If you feel discomfort or irritation, it's time to get rid of it.

Who Cannot wear contact lenses? ›

Although, not everyone can wear them comfortably. Eye conditions, such as dry eye disease or blepharitis, may make wearing contacts uncomfortable and risky. A severe refractive error, allergies, or contact lens intolerance can also make wearing contact lenses difficult.

Can you rehydrate contacts and wear them? ›

If you rehydrate the lens and use it without proper disinfecting, you could risk infection or damage to your eyes.

Can you get rid of dry eye syndrome? ›

Currently, there is no permanent cure for dry eye disease. However, a number of options can help maintain moisture in the eyes. These can reduce symptoms and protect vision.

Should you give your eyes a break from contacts? ›

Your eyes need a break and fresh air. As mentioned above, contacts can inhibit the flow of oxygen to the eye. By taking a break, you allow your eyes to breathe. Even if you're not planning to sleep, take your contacts out when you've passed the healthy wearing period.

When should you stop wearing contact lenses? ›

There is no maximum age limit to when you have to stop wearing contact lenses. You'll find, however, that your prescription requirements may change, as will the quality of your tears, which can lead to dry eyes.

What does chronic dry eye feel like? ›

Dry eye symptoms include a dry, gritty or burning sensation in the eyes, redness, watery or teary eyes and mucus that make the eyes feel "glued shut" after sleeping. Many people also report the feeling of something in the eye or eyestrain. Itching and light sensitivity may also occur.

What supplements help dry eyes? ›

Supplements for Dry Eye
  • Vitamin A. Vitamin A is essential for your health; a deficiency can even lead to dry eyes due to inadequate moisture production. ...
  • Fish Oil. ...
  • Vitamin C. ...
  • Flaxseed Oil. ...
  • Cod Liver Oil. ...
  • Zinc. ...
  • Vitamin D. ...
  • Lutein & Zeaxanthin.
Jul 13, 2021

Can I put my contacts in hydrogen peroxide overnight? ›

Leave contacts in the solution for at least 6 hours to allow the neutralizing process to finish. Never rinse your contact lenses with hydrogen peroxide solutions or put these solutions in your eyes.

Why do my contacts get dry so fast? ›

Bacteria build-up is a major reason for dry and uncomfortable contact lenses. Make sure to focus on contact cleaning and maintenance. This will maximize their lifespan and prevent them from drying out.

How long can we wear contact lenses in a day? ›

As a general point, it's recommended that you wear your contact lenses for a maximum of 8-10 hours per day. There are lenses available which you can wear for more than 10-12 hours as well. Your eye care practitioner will be able to suggest you better what is best for your eyes.

Can 60 year olds wear contacts? ›

Contact lenses are one of many options for correcting vision, but are they a good solution for older adults? They can be. With guidance from an eye doctor, many adults over 60 successfully wear contacts. They're a convenient way to correct your vision.

Why are my contacts blurrier than my glasses? ›

Deposits on the contact lens

Buildup of debris and protein deposits on the surface of the contact lenses is the most common reason for the lenses to seem cloudy or hazy. The easiest way to see if this is the problem, is to take the lenses out and compare the vision in your glasses.

Is it harder to wear contacts as you get older? ›

As you age, this lens becomes thicker, harder and less flexible. If you're over 40 and feel like you need to hold menus and newspapers further away to help your eyes focus, you probably have presbyopia.

Do daily contacts dry out faster? ›

The disadvantage of daily lenses for anyone with an active lifestyle is that the thinner contacts tend to dry out more quickly.

What is the newest treatment for dry eyes? ›

A new treatment for dry eye disease is providing relief for people with certain forms of the condition. Called intense pulse light therapy or IPL, the treatment can be performed in your doctor's office and has been very effective.

Does drinking water help with dry eyes? ›

Treatments for Mild Dry Eye:

Avoid dehydration by drinking plenty of water. Staying hydrated helps produce natural tears more effectively.

Does drinking more water help dry eye syndrome? ›

You may not realize that if you have dry eyes, drinking more water and staying hydrated can make a big difference as part of a dry eye treatment plan. Drinking more water helps your eyes maintain a healthy tear volume, which is an essential part of keeping dry eyes and their symptoms at bay.

Is it bad to wear contact lenses everyday? ›

Unfortunately, regular daily contact lenses aren't suitable for continuous wear. Though good for the daytime, they don't actually allow enough oxygen to pass through when the eyelids are closed which can result in a range of problems, such as blurred vision and infections.

What are the long term side effects of contacts? ›

Other long-term effects of contact lenses can include: changes in thickness and shape of the cornea, formation of micro cysts, decreased corneal sensitivity, and even vision loss.

What happens if you overuse contact lenses? ›

As a result, the main problem with contact lens overwear is that it erodes the corneal epithelium, resulting in a corneal abrasion — an open sore on your cornea. Infection can spread through these abrasions, producing corneal scarring. This can cause your vision to deteriorate and distort.

What is the disadvantage of contact lens? ›

Lenses are prone to shifting, dryness, and other complications. Eyes are more susceptible to infection with contact lens wear. There is a higher risk of bacterial infections with contact lens users. Infections can be caused by prolonged wear, build-up, bacteria, neglectful care and sleeping with contacts on.

Is it better to wear contacts or glasses? ›

They produce a more “natural” field of vision.

Because they sit on the surface of your eyes and move with them, contact lenses provide seamless vision correction. Their benefits extend to your peripheral vision and they won't have the same types of visual disruptions that glasses do, such as reflections or fogginess.

Why wont my dry eye go away? ›

You may see symptoms from wearing contact lenses too long or being in a dry environment. Chronic dry eye, on the other hand, is often caused by an underlying condition. Conditions involving the eye glands, skin diseases near the eyes, and allergies can all contribute to chronic dry eye.

How do you permanently get rid of dry eyes naturally? ›

Relieving dry eyes naturally
  1. Protect your eyes. ...
  2. Consume a healthy diet including Omega 3. ...
  3. Boost your vitamin A, B12, and D levels. ...
  4. Control blood sugar levels. ...
  5. Lubricating eye drops/ Artificial tears. ...
  6. Stay hydrated. ...
  7. Avoid alcohol. ...
  8. Quit smoking.
Jun 1, 2020

What deficiency causes dry eyes? ›

Vitamin A deficiency, which usually occurs in developing countries, can cause an increase in dry eye. By adding foods rich in Vitamin A, like carrots, pumpkins, apricots, spinach, tomatoes, dairy products and liver, you can prevent the development of this condition.

What is the best thing for extremely dry eyes? ›

Over-the-counter (OTC) eye drops, like artificial tears, and prescription eye drops, like Restasis (cyclosporine) and Xiidra (lifitegrast), are effective treatments for dry eye. Home remedies for dry eyes include avoiding wind and smoke, using a humidifier, and doing eyelid scrubs or warm compresses.

Does vitamin D cure dry eyes? ›

Conclusion: Vitamin D supplementation as an adjuvant to routine dry eye treatment improves ocular surface hemostasis parameters, results in better tear stability and a more improved tear osmolarity in patients with vitamin D deficiency.

What foods should I avoid with dry eyes? ›

Here is a look at some of the foods to avoid if you have ongoing problems with dry eyes.
  • Alcoholic Beverages. Alcohol is one of the most guilty culprits behind dry eyes. ...
  • High-Sodium Snacks. ...
  • High-Sugar Foods. ...
  • Find Dry Eye Relief with the Right Champaign Eye Doctor.
Sep 6, 2021

What can I use instead of contact lens solution? ›

What to use if you don't have contact solution?
  • Hydrogen Peroxide.
  • Saline Nasal Spray.
  • Eye Refreshing Drops.
  • Home-Made Saline Solution.
Jul 25, 2022

Should you rinse contacts before putting them in? ›

While contact solution is used to store and disinfect your contacts, it is still essential to clean them using the rub and rinse method before wearing them.

How do you keep contacts moist overnight? ›

Steps for Storing with Multipurpose Solution
  1. Remove one contact lens at a time and rub it in the palm of your hand with the solution.
  2. Place the first contact lens in the case and repeat the process with the second lens.
  3. Fill your case with fresh multipurpose solution to store the lenses overnight.

How do you keep contacts moist without solution? ›

Store your contact lenses as you normally would in distilled water, says Woodhams Eye. Unlike tap water, distilled water is free from the virus acanthamoeba keratitis. However, there is still a risk that you can get an infection, so make sure that you only use it for short periods.

Can you shower with contacts in? ›

All types of contact lenses, including extended-wear contacts, should be removed from your eyes before showering to prevent complications. Even though extended-wear contacts can be worn for multiple days at a time, you're still putting your eyes at risk for infection or irritation if the contacts become wet.

Is it OK to wear only one contact lens? ›

Using a single contact lens won't hurt your eyes if that's what your prescription calls for. However, if you're not wearing both contacts because you lost one of them, you may experience vision loss symptoms in the unprotected eye. Blurry, distorted vision and other side effects of uncorrected vision can return.

What happens if you wear daily contacts for more than 12 hours? ›

Like any part of your body, your eyes need rest. Overwearing your daily contacts can limit oxygen nourishment in your eye, causing complications such as corneal swelling. According to experts, contact lenses should be worn for about 14 to 16 hours per day or according to your optometrist's advice.

Do dry eyes make contacts blurry? ›

Blurry lenses are also a common occurrence with dry eyes. To test if dry eyes are the culprit, all you need to do is blink. If your vision improves a little bit, then dry eyes are causing blurriness in your lenses. We recommend using rewetting drops or artificial tears to rehydrate your contact lenses.

Can you wear contacts after they dry out? ›

If you think your contacts have dried out, don't try putting them back in—instead, replace them with a new pair of lenses if possible. If you don't have a fresh pair on hand, let your eyes rest without wearing any lenses until you can get a new pair from your optometrist or doctor.

How often should I use eye drops with contacts? ›

Most drops that are made for use with contact lenses will have the word “contacts” right on the front of the label. These drops are designed specifically to lubricate the eye and lens surface to make your wearing experience more comfortable. You can use these drops as frequently as you wish.

Why can I see better with glasses than contacts? ›

Glasses are better for astigmatisms

It also may take more time for your eyes to adjust to contacts with astigmatism. With glasses, the lenses are custom made to help with your astigmatism and remain stable on your face without the need for adjustment to see clearly.

Can dry eyes cause astigmatism? ›

Dry eye is probably the single biggest cause of irregular astigmatism.

How do I keep my contacts moist all day? ›

Solution #6: Use Artificial Tears

“If someone can only wear their contacts for a few hours before the dryness is too much, I tell them to use artificial tears,” he explains. The drops tend to help them wear their lenses for longer periods of time while also minimizing some of the discomfort they might be feeling. Dr.

How often should you change contact solution? ›

It's also important to replace multi-purpose solution after every use and once every 72 hours when your lenses aren't being stored in it. If you're struggling with the removal and application process - fear not, we have you covered!

Is it better to put contacts in water or eye drops? ›

Using tap water, bottled or even distilled water is never the substitute for contact lens solution." Putting contact lenses in water will contaminate the lenses and give rise to eye irritation or even infection! Using the best contact solution preserves the quality and safety of your lenses.

Can Refresh tears lubricant eye drops be used with contacts? ›

Refresh Plus Preservative Free Artificial Tears

Due to the lack of preservatives they can be used with contact lenses, and we specifically recommend them for people who apply artificial tears regularly (4 to 5 times per day).

Is it OK to wear contacts every day? ›

Yes, we can confirm that wearing contact lenses every day is safe as long as you take the necessary hygiene and care precautions. The main precautions are to always keep them clean and isolated from contact with microorganisms and to let your eyes take a break from them, unless they are extended wear contact lenses.


1. Do Contact Lenses Hurt Your Eyes? Here's Why Contact Lenses Hurt Your Eyes! An Optometrist Explains
(Eye School with Dr. D)
2. Can Contact Lenses Cure Dry Eye Disease? Treat Dry Eye w/ Contacts! What are Drug Eluting Contacts?
(Eye School with Dr. D)
3. Contact Lenses and Dry Eye
(Amplify Eyecare Manhattan)
4. Best Contact Lenses for Dry Eyes | Most Comfortable Contacts
(Ryan Reviews Optometry)
5. Contact Lens - Induced Dry Eyes
(Amplify Eyecare Manhattan)
6. Eye Drops for Contacts - 3 Best Eye Drops for Contact Lenses
(Doctor Eye Health)


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