Dry eye syndrome (DES) is a common disorder of the tear film, affecting a significant percentage of the population, especially those older than 40 years.
Soft lenses may be recommended for people with dry eyes as they allow oxygen to pass through.
There are a number of lifestyle changes that may help some people with dry eyes. If these changes don’t improve dry eyes, people may want to discuss changing their prescription or contact lenses.
People should consider different types of contact lenses, depending on the cause of dry eye.
There are a number of options to choose from:
- Soft lenses. Soft contacts are significantly better for people with chronic dry eye. The materials used in soft contacts are made to hold water and allow oxygen to pass through the lens to let the eyes breathe. Someone using hard contacts may benefit from switching to a soft lens instead.
- Water content. Contact lenses have varying levels of wetness. Contacts with higher wetness level can actually worsen dry eye because they will draw water out of the eyes in order to maintain the high wetness level. People with dry eye might be better to use a contact with a lower level of moisture.
- Silicone hydrogels. Contact lenses made from silicone require less moisture than other contacts and let more oxygen pass through. Though a little more expensive than other contacts, these lenses might be more comfortable for someone with dry eyes.
- Replacement frequency. Many people report that their contact lenses are more comfortable when replaced often, especially more frequently than the manufacturer guidelines. Replacing new contacts on a daily basis seems to be the best way to ensure comfort.
Lens Care Solutions
Currently, the best lens care product for disinfecting contact lenses is a hydrogen peroxide-based solution. However, if peroxide remains on the contacts after disinfection, they can irritate the eye and worsen symptoms. People with dry eyes may find it helpful to change lens care solutions and make sure the solution is being used correctly.