Contact Lenses and Dry Eye

Contact lens discomfort can occur for a variety of reasons, especially when combined with dry eye.  In order for contact lenses to work the way they are supposed to it is important to care for them properly, following the wear schedule and replacement schedule prescribed by your doctor.

A properly fit contact lens should float or ride on the eye on a thin film of tear fluid.  With each blink, the tear film between the eye and the contact lens is replaced with fresh tear fluid which allows fresh oxygen that is dissolved in the tear film to reach the cornea.  It also helps to wash away any debris that has accumulated under the contact lens.

At each examination, your eye doctor will evaluate the fit of your contact lenses and be sure that early damage to your cornea has not occurred due to dry eye.  If the contact lens fit is the problem, your eye doctor may change the material, diameter, or lens curvature of your contact lenses.  Sometimes, chemicals commonly found in the multipurpose contact lens solution may be the cause of the irritation, mimicking dry eye.  Your eye doctor may prescribe a hydrogen peroxide based care system instead. In addition, adding a contact lens moisturizing drop once or twice a day may solve the dry eye problem.

Other causes of contact lens related dry eye can include in complete or infrequent blinking or incomplete blinking.  This can often occur when staring at a computer for long periods of time without resting the eyes.  Chronic exposure to wind and dust can also cause your contact lenses to dry out.

If you develop contact lens related dry eye, see your eye doctor promptly to allow you and your doctor to work together to solve the problem.

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