A common complaint with many contact lens wearers is dry eyes. This can be caused from wearing contacts or from chemicals, allergies or allergic reactions, or just be hereditary. Many individuals with mild dry eye who normally don t experience the irritations of dry eyes may after wearing contacts. This disorder is very common and is due to the lack of tear production in the tear ducts. Some normal symptoms of dry eye usually include burning, irritation, stinging, redness and blurred vision. Several million people are affected by dry eye and this disorder is more frequent than a lot of people think.
People who experience irritation from wearing contacts typically find that it is due to dry eye. Contacts can affect the eyes ability to produce tears in order to keep the eye moist and comfortable. Those with this disorder don t have to stop wearing contact lenses -- there are other options available to you before discontinuing use of soft contact lenses.
Some clinical studies have been performed that indicate there are some contact lens solutions containing preservatives that can contribute to dry eye and the discomfort from wearing contact lenses. One of the studies performed found that AOSept, a contact solution that doesn t contain preservatives, was found to increase comfort and reduce symptoms of dryness. Solutions that do contain preservatives and were found to increase discomfort and dryness included, OptiFree, Renu, Solocare and Complete.
Other ways to battle dry eyes and still reap the benefits of wearing contact lenses for longer periods of time include:
- Using contact lens rewetting drops such as Refresh Contacts, Clerz Plus or ClearEyes. Again, using a preservative-free drop is an added relief.
- Re-soak your contact lenses throughout the day. This may mean removing and putting them in solution for a few minutes or just taking them out and rewetting them. How often you perform this should be based on when you have symptoms or your eyes start feeling uncomfortable.
- Depending on which brand of soft contact lens you use, properly clean your lenses and always change out the solution when you take them out. For those wearing a disposable contact lens, switching lenses when recommended is vital. For example, if you wear a two-week disposable, it is imperative to switch out your lenses every two weeks. Wearing them longer than recommended could cause serious eye infection and will contribute to any discomfort you may be experiencing.
- There are several brands of contact lenses designed to provide more moisture and air to the eye. Some of these include: Acuvue Oasys, ProClear Compatibles, Acuvue Advance, Focus Night & Day and Ciba O2 Optix. These brands have been proven to be more comfortable and help with dry eye; but aren t guaranteed.
- There are also prescription eye drops on the market today. Restasis is an anti-inflammatory eye drop and is specifically prescribed for moderate to severe dry eye disorder. This can also provide some relief and allow you to continue wearing contact lenses.
As with anything, make sure to check with your eye doctor before making any changes. Each person s symptoms and discomfort is different. Talk to your doctor to see what s right for you specifically. Know there are options available to you and discontinuing wearing of contact lenses doesn t have to be one of them.
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