Contact Lenses and Dry Eye: Finding the Right Balance

If you are one of the millions of people who wear contact lenses, you know the convenience they offer. But you might also be familiar with the discomfort of dry eyes. The good news is that you can find relief with the right lenses and solutions. This guide will describe the link between contacts and dry eye and offer handy tips to manage both.


Understanding Dry Eye

Dry eye syndrome often develops when the eyes do not generate enough liquid or tears to stay moisturized. Symptoms can include a gritty feeling, burning, pain, or blurred vision. Causes can include damage to tear glands, medications, hormonal changes, and long-term contact lens wear.


How Contact Lenses Contribute to Dry Eye

Contact lenses sit on the surface of your eyes and disrupt the function and stability of your tear film. Friction between the lens and the surface of your eye may result from this. Dry eyes result from tears evaporating more quickly without the greasy tear layer.


Managing Dry Eye with Contact Lenses

Do not panic if you get dry eye symptoms when using contacts. There are several strategies you can use:


  • Switching Lens Types

Many people find relief by switching to daily disposable lenses. These prevent protein deposits that can make your eyes feel even drier.


  • Changing Cleaning Solutions

Switching to a hydrogen peroxide-based cleaning system may make your lenses more comfortable.


  • Using Lubricating Eye Drops

Lubricating eye drops can reduce friction between the lens and cornea.


  • Practicing Good Screen Habits

Long periods of screen time can dry out your eyes. Set a reminder to pause every 20 minutes. Look away from your screen at something around 20 feet away and focus your eyes on it for 20 seconds. This brief reset for your eyes can help reduce strain and dryness.


  • Choosing the Right Contact Lenses

Your optometrist can guide you to the right contact lenses that fit your prescription, lifestyle, and eye health. You have two main choices: soft disposable lenses and rigid gas-permeable lenses. Soft lenses may be more comfortable but might not correct all vision problems. On the other hand, rigid lenses may provide sharper vision.


The Importance of Regular Checkups

Regular checkups with your optometrist are crucial to managing dry eye symptoms associated with contact lens use. Your optometrist can monitor changes in your eye health over time and adjust your treatment plan as needed. They can also provide personalized advice on managing dry eye symptoms and maintaining optimal eye health.


Lifestyle Changes for Dry Eye Management

Besides medical treatments and changes in contact lens use, specific lifestyle changes can also help manage dry eye symptoms. These include:


  • Staying hydrated

  • Maintaining an omega-3 fatty acid-rich, balanced diet

  • Avoiding exposure to wind and dry environments

  • Taking regular breaks from screen time



Discuss any dry eye symptoms with your doctor so that you can discover solutions together. You will be on your way to clear, comfortable contact lens vision with the right strategy.

For more on dry eye syndrome, visit Eye & Health at our office in New York, New York. Call (212) 228-0950 to schedule an appointment today.