Studies suggest that up to 20 percent of Americans have chronic dry eyes. This common condition is why many people are told they can’t wear contact lenses. Dry eye discomfort also forces many contact lens wearers to discontinue wearing their lenses.
Symptoms of dry eyes include:
- Feeling as if something is in your eye
- Tearing for no reason
- Frequent red or burning eyes
- Having very watery tears
If you have chronically dry eyes, soft contact lenses may dry out on your eyes and cause discomfort. To combat this problem, some new soft contacts are designed specifically for people with dry eyes. These lenses retain moisture better than other soft lenses, for longer periods of wearing comfort.
Many contact lens specialists prefer fitting gas permeable contact lenses on people with dry eyes. GP lenses are smaller and don’t absorb moisture from your eyes like soft lenses do, and therefore may cause less dryness.
Drs. Reto, and Halscheid may recommend treating your dry eye condition prior to contact lens fitting. Treatment may involve the use of artificial tears, medicated eye drops to help you produce more tears, dietary supplements for eye nutrition, and lid scrubs to maintain optimal lid hygiene.
Our doctors may consider punctal plug as part of your dry eye treatment. These tiny collagen or silicone devices are inserted into the tear drainage ducts near the inner margin of your eyelids to block tears from leaving the surface of your eyes. By keeping more tears on your eyes, punctal plugs often can improve contact lens comfort. The procedure, called punctal occlusion or lacrimal occlusion, takes only a few minutes and is painless. Once the plugs are inserted, most people can’t even feel them.