Dry eyes are common for contact wearers and non-contact wearers alike. Unfortunately, wearing contacts can increase the likelihood of experiencing dry eyes. The most common complaint heard by eye doctors from patients who wear contact lenses, is that their eyes are dried out. Thankfully, there are steps that can be taken to combat the irritating dry eye feeling that you experience when wearing contact lenses.

What causes dry eyes?

Normally, our bodies work to battle dry eyes. There are glands located near each eye that produce tears. These tears are meant to lubricate the eye, which prevents them from drying out. Unfortunately, wearing contacts for long durations can interfere with the body’s normal lubrication technique. This is made worse by certain medical conditions like Meibomian Gland Dysfunction that interfere with the glands’ ability to make tears.

What are the symptoms of dry eyes?

Dry eyes can be caused by wearing contacts for long periods of time. Symptoms include red eyes, irritation, and the urge to itch your eyes. This is most common towards the end of the day when you’ve been wearing contacts for an extended period of time.

What contacts work best to combat dry eyes?

If you are experiencing dry eyes while wearing contacts, it is important to bring it up to your eye doctor. Different types of contact lenses are better for battling dry eyes than others and your optician will be able to suggest the appropriate lens for you.

Generally, soft contact lenses are best for keeping your eyes from drying out. These types of lenses actually allow your eyes to retain more water than hard contact lenses.

Be sure to look at the water content of the contact lenses you are considering. Lenses that contain more water are better at attracting and retaining moisture, which keeps your eyes from drying out. Some contact lenses like Air Optix, Acuvue, DAILIES, and Bausch & Lomb actually use advanced methods to keep your eyes from drying out while wearing contacts.

In addition, you also want to consider the type of material that your contact lenses are made from. Silicone hydrogel lenses are great for allowing high amounts of oxygen into your eye, which keeps them moisturized.

What else can you do to treat dry eyes while wearing contacts?  

Even with the right contact lenses, you still might experience dry eyes. If you are looking to combat this condition, you might want to try eye drops, or “artificial tears.” These are a great option to alleviate the dryness and irritation in your eye. Just be sure you are using eye drops that are meant for the contacts you wear. You can also look at changing your cleaning solution to one containing moisturizer. Your eye doctor will be able to recommend a suitable eye drop and solution to alleviate dry eyes based on the type of contact lenses you wear.