Blog Hero
Blog Hero

Do Contacts Dry Your Eyes Out?

Book Your Appointment
A person rubbing both of their eyes with their hands as their contact lenses are irritating their eyes.

Contact lenses are more than a luxury for many people—they are a part of daily life, enabling unobstructed vision that eyeglasses typically cannot match. But what happens when the discomfort of dry, irritated eyes overshadows their convenience? Contacts can dry your eyes out due to a few contributing factors, like prolonged wear, improper fit, and environmental factors.

Lubricating eye drops or other home remedies are often enough to alleviate dry eyes from contact lens wear. However, it is critical to see your doctor if you are experiencing persistent symptoms. Our Edmonton optometrists can examine your eyes and contact lenses to ensure a proper fit and that there is not anything more serious going on.

The Impact of Contacts on Eye Moisture

Contact lenses create a barrier that can reduce the natural flow of oxygen and tears to the eye. This constriction does not affect everyone equally. Individual eye health, lens material, and moisture content due to dry eye disease (often called dry eye) can all play a role.

Causes of Dry Eyes with Contacts

Your contact lenses could be the culprit if you have never experienced persistent dry eye symptoms but suddenly start experiencing them after wearing a new set of contacts. But, it is important to note that sometimes the lenses are not the issue because it could be a combination of various factors.

Prolonged Wear

Contacts are designed for specific durations—some for daily wear, others for extended or continuous wear. But out of convenience or forgetfulness, we can push those boundaries and unknowingly compromise eye comfort and health.

For example, you should not wear a daily disposable lens for more than a single use, or an extended-wear lens may be suitable for long-term use, but you still need to remove it nightly. Always follow your eye doctor’s and the manufacturer’s instructions for the particular contact lens you are wearing.

Improper Fit

“Fit” goes beyond the right prescription for clear vision. The curve and diameter of the lens must match your eye’s natural shape. When they do not, the misalignment can not only cause discomfort but also interrupt the natural production and distribution of tears, which can lead to dry eyes and general discomfort while wearing the lens.

Environmental Factors

Dry air, dust, and pollutants are harsh on the eyes and can contribute to dry eye. Add contacts to the equation, especially if they are worn for long periods or are not replaced on schedule, and these environmental factors can spell double trouble for your eyes. 

Treatment & Prevention

There are numerous ways to manage and reduce contact lens-related dryness. We recommend contact lens wearers to visit us yearly for essential check-ups, as lenses introduce foreign elements to the eyes, necessitating regular assessments to prevent complications and maintain optimal eye health.

The below are our recommended treatments for immediate and long term relief of dry eyes:

  • Bruder Masks: Provides relief for dry eyes by maintaining moisture levels around the eye area.
  • UMAY: Not only alleviates symptoms of dry eyes but also aids in relaxing an overworked brain, offering dual benefits for eye health and mental relaxation.
  • Neurolens: Addresses dry eye symptoms by correcting vision misalignment, which can contribute to eye dryness, enhancing both eye comfort and visual clarity.
  • MGD Drops: Stimulates the Meibomian glands for improved efficiency, reducing dry eye symptoms when used regularly and consistently.
  • I-Defense for Sleep-Related Dry Eye: Offers relief and alleviates symptoms of dry eyes, especially for those experiencing the condition due to their eyes staying open while sleeping.
  • Omega-3 supplements (i-vu by I-Med): Plays a significant role in treating dry eye by purifying fish oil through a re-esterified process, improving taste and enhancing the body’s ability to absorb & utilize it for effective relief from dry eye symptoms.

The following are good additional steps to incorporate for maximum comfort with contact lenses:

Hygiene & Maintenance of Contacts

Good contact lens hygiene is a must. Some things to remember about contact lens hygiene include:

  • Always wash your hands before putting in or removing your contacts.
  • Only use suitable contact lens cleaner.
  • Follow all manufacturer instructions for cleaning and storing the lenses.

Use of Lubricating Eye Drops

Lubricating eye drops can be a soothing balm against desert-like conditions that can come hand-in-hand with contact lenses. Not all eye drops are suitable for use while wearing contact lenses, so ensure you choose a compatible brand.

Choosing Specialized Contacts for Dry Eyes

Technology in contact lenses has come a long way. There are lenses designed to help retain the eye’s moisture. Soft contact lenses or silicone hydrogel lenses may be the best option when dealing with chronic dry eye symptoms.

Taking Breaks & Practicing Eye Exercises

Your eyes may need rest sometimes. So, skipping a day or 2 from wearing your contacts could be beneficial, even if the lenses are designed for continuous or long-term wear. This is a great reason to keep a pair of prescription eyeglasses as a backup.

Tips for Comfortable Contact Lens Wear

Prevention is a key to maintaining comfort and eye health in contact lens wear.

Stay Hydrated

Hydrating your body directly impacts the moisture levels in your eyes. So, something as simple as drinking adequate water throughout the day can help prevent dry eye symptoms.

Eye Care Habits

Establishing an eye care routine can make a significant difference in the comfort of your contacts. This routine includes when and how to wear your contacts, proper cleaning and storing, and setting a schedule for regular eye exams.

Professional Advice

Nothing beats professional advice. At our clinic, we emphasize the importance of regular health exams for all contact lens wearers, recommending a visit every 12 months for general maintenance and to rule out potential injuries and health issues. Ensuring your lenses are in top condition and that your eyes remain healthy is our top priority, highlighting our commitment to your vision and eye health.

Here for Your Contact Lens Needs

Dry eyes and contacts do not have to be a package deal. By understanding the causes, implementing preventative measures, and seeking professional advice, you can maintain the convenience of clear vision without the distraction of discomfort. Call our experienced team at The Eye Care Group today to book an eye exam if you’re experiencing uncomfortable symptoms related to dry eye, or want to learn more about contacts.

Written by Kristiena Bobocel

Kristiena joined the Eye Care Group family business shortly after graduation while working on a degree in ophthalmics from NAIT. Over the years, Kristiena has worked in every aspect of the family business, from dispensing glasses and instructing contacts, to cutting and edging glasses and eventually taking on administrative duties.
instagram facebook facebook2 pinterest twitter google-plus google linkedin2 yelp youtube phone location calendar share2 link star-full star-half star star-half chevron-right chevron-left chevron-down chevron-up envelope fax