Can I Wear Contact Lenses If I Have Dry Eye?

Dry eye is a condition where tears fail to produce enough oil, water, or mucin to keep eyes moist. Individuals with the condition experience symptoms such as eye dryness and redness, stinging, burning, and blurry vision. Contact lenses sit on the eye surface, not allowing the eye to breathe as it should.


Wearing contacts with dry eye can be very uncomfortable, and you have an increased risk of the lens scratching your cornea. Find out below whether you can wear contact lenses if you have dry eye.


Contacts and Dry Eye


Approximately 50 percent of contact lens wearers report experiencing dry eye conditions. People who wear contacts are more likely to get dry eye than those who wear glasses. Female contact wearers are 50 percent more likely to suffer from dry eye than their male counterparts. 


Other causes of dry eye include increased tear osmolarity, reduced corneal sensitivity, and tear film thinning. Reduced blink intervals and lenses with higher water content can lead to dry eye. 


Evaluating Dry Eye


Before you give up your contact lenses, you need to get an evaluation of the symptoms of dry eye. An eye doctor will be able to advise you on whether to continue using contacts. Apart from evaluating the symptoms, the eye doctor will also review your history of contact lens use.


Several tests detect signs of dry eye. Clinical markers determine if a patient has meibomian gland dysfunction and other symptoms. A tear film evaluation helps determine the effects of contact lens wear.


Special Contact Lenses


Many contact lens wearers stop using lenses or wear them less frequently due to discomfort associated with dry eye. If you experience dry eye, the doctor can recommend contact lenses for your condition. There are contact lenses designed for people with dry eyes.


Daily disposables allow the wearer to enjoy fresh lenses each day. The lenses prevent dryness by keeping the eye moist. Gas-permeable lenses retain more water than regular contacts, making them a good option.


Treating Chronic Dry Eye


The goal of dry eye treatment is to keep the eyes moisturized. The tear film over the cornea needs to remain balanced always, especially when wearing contacts. Treatment for the condition ranges from natural remedies to using prescription medication.

Medications help treat inflamed oil glands. Artificial tear drops help increase moisture. Treatment can also involve blocking the tear ducts to prevent evaporation of the tears. Some people find that increasing their intake of omega-3 fatty acids can help reduce dry eye symptoms.


Can You Wear Contacts With Dry Eye?


If you have dry eye and want to continue wearing contacts, there is help for you. Various contact lenses and products are helpful.


There Are Soft Contact Lens Brands Designed for Dry Eyes


Custom-fit scleral contact lenses are large, rigid gas permeable lenses that keep the eyes from drying out. Orthokeratology involves the use of contact lenses worn at night. The gas permeable lenses help correct refractive errors at night, allowing you to go lens-free all day. The lenses can reduce dry eye symptoms. If you are sensitive to contact care products, the doctor can recommend different products.


For more on whether you can wear contact lenses if you have dry eye, contact Houston Dry Eye Clinic at our office in Houston, Texas. You can call us at (713) 664-4760 today to schedule an appointment.