How to Manage Dry Eye Syndrome When Wearing Contact Lenses
Dry eye syndrome, also known as keratoconjunctivitis sicca, is a common condition in which the eyes are unable to produce enough tears or the tears produced are of poor quality. This results in a lack of moisture and lubrication on the surface of the eyes, leading to discomfort, irritation, and even damage to the surface of the eyes.
The symptoms of dry eye syndrome can vary in severity and may include a burning or stinging sensation, itching, redness, sensitivity to light, blurred vision, and a feeling of grittiness or dryness in the eyes. In some cases, excessive tearing may also occur because of the body’s attempt to compensate for the dryness.
Dry eye syndrome can be caused by a variety of factors, including age, hormonal changes, environmental factors such as dry air or wind, medications, and certain medical conditions such as autoimmune diseases. Managing dry eye syndrome while wearing contacts is something that many people struggle with daily which can deter them from wearing contacts at times or feeling helpless when it comes to being able to live a healthy and productive life with healthy eyes.
Is It Possible to Manage Dry Eye Syndrome While Wearing Contacts?
Yes! Although it can be challenging at times, there are several strategies that a person can utilize to help them to manage their dry eye syndrome such as:
- Use rewetting drops: Using rewetting drops or artificial tears specifically designed for contact lenses can help alleviate dryness and discomfort. These drops can be used as often as needed, but it is important to use drops that are compatible with your specific type of contact lenses.
- Use contact lenses designed for dry eyes: Some contact lenses are specifically designed to be more comfortable for people with dry eyes. These lenses are typically made from materials that retain moisture and provide additional lubrication.
- Limit contact lens wear time: If you are experiencing significant discomfort or dryness while wearing contact lenses, it may be helpful to limit the amount of time you wear them each day. Talk to your eye care provider about the appropriate wear time for your specific lenses.
- Avoid environmental triggers: Avoiding environmental triggers that can exacerbate dry eye symptoms, such as air conditioning or windy conditions, can also be helpful. Using a humidifier in your home or workspace can also help maintain moisture in the air and reduce dryness.
- Practice good hygiene: Proper hygiene is important when wearing contact lenses and can also help alleviate dry eye symptoms. Make sure to clean and disinfect your lenses regularly, and avoid rubbing your eyes, which can exacerbate dryness and irritation.
- Consider other treatment options: In some cases, your eye care provider may recommend additional treatment options for dry eye syndrome, such as prescription eye drops or a procedure to block tear ducts to improve tear quality. Be sure to discuss all options with your eye care provider.
What are Scleral Lenses and How Do They Help with Dry Eye Syndrome?
Scleral lenses are a type of contact lens that are larger in diameter than traditional lenses and rest on the sclera, the white part of the eye. They are designed to create a reservoir of fluid between the lens and the cornea, which can help alleviate dryness and provide more stable vision.
Scleral lenses are particularly useful for people with severe dry eye syndrome or other conditions that affect the surface of the eye, such as corneal irregularities or scarring. Unlike traditional contact lenses, scleral lenses do not come into direct contact with the cornea, which can help reduce irritation and discomfort.
The fluid reservoir created by scleral lenses provides constant lubrication and moisture to the surface of the eye, which can help reduce dryness, irritation, and inflammation. Additionally, the larger size of scleral lenses can help improve visual acuity for people with irregular corneas, such as those with keratoconus or other corneal diseases.
Scleral lenses are custom fitted to each individual’s eye, and the fitting process is more complex than that of disposable contact lenses. It is important to work with an eye care practitioner who is experienced in fitting and prescribing scleral lenses to ensure the best possible outcome. Proper cleaning and maintenance of scleral lenses is also important to prevent infection and maintain comfort.
Additional Treatment Options for Dry Eye Syndrome
At the Weston Contact Lens Institute, we offer several treatment options to address dry eye syndrome including:
- Lipiflow: This in-office treatment takes just 12 minutes, and it works by removing obstructions from the meibomian glands – the glands that produce oils that lubricate the eye – along the eyelid margins. By using thermal pulsation technology, Lipiflow can effectively unblock these glands, thereby enabling them to function properly and produce the necessary oils to maintain eye lubrication naturally. This is a breakthrough solution that offers real hope and relief to those who suffer from dry eye syndrome.
- TearCare: TearCare is a non-invasive and effective treatment for dry eye syndrome involves utilizing two supple eyelid devices that are positioned on both the upper and lower eyelids. These wearable devices work by applying a mild level of heat directly to the meibomian glands. This gentle heat helps remove blockages from the glands and liquefies the meibum, a thick oil that contributes to eye lubrication. By stimulating the production of tears, this treatment can provide significant relief to those who experience dry eye symptoms.
To learn more about dry eye syndrome or the treatment options that we offer, please get in touch with us today!