Though anyone can have dry eye syndrome, individuals who wear contacts are more likely to struggle with it on a regular basis. In addition, the problem tends to be worse for those who wear contacts.
“50% of contact lens wearers report dry eye symptoms. They are 12 times more likely than [those who don’t need corrective lenses] and five times more likely than spectacle wearers to report dry eye symptoms.” (Yes, Dry Eye Patients Can Wear Contacts)
Causes and Symptoms
Regardless of whether or not a person wears contacts, the symptoms of dry eye syndrome are bothersome and include:
- Dryness, grittiness or soreness
- Feeling that something is in the eye
- Stinging or burning
- Redness of the eyes
- Watering eyes, especially in windy conditions
- Eyelids that stick upon waking up
- Symptoms that worsen in hot or smoky environments
- Heavy eyelids
- Blurred vision
When any of these symptoms arise, it’s also helpful to know the Causes and Solutions for Dry Eyes. The most common causes include:
- Decreased tears with aging
- Quick tear evaporation
- Side effects of medication
- Dry, dusty or windy environment
- Extended computer use
- Improper fit of contacts
- Eye lens functioning problems
Worse for Contact Wearers
For contact wearers, the symptoms of dry eye syndrome are often compounded. This happens because, in addition to the environmental conditions that can impact dry eye, the contacts themselves can exacerbate the problem.
“A properly fit contact lens should ride or float on the eye on a thin film of fluid (tear film). With each blink, this film of fluid between the contact lens and the eye is replaced with fresh fluid, allowing debris to be washed away and fresh oxygen that is dissolved in the fluid to reach the cornea. If this film is compromised in quantity or quality, the contact lens may become uncomfortable or even unhealthy to wear.” (Dry Eyes and Contact Lenses)
Contact lenses can add to dry eye for a variety of reasons. Those include an improper fit and chemicals in storage solutions. Regardless of the reason, visiting an eye doctor is essential for discovering and treating the cause of dry eye syndrome.
“If the doctor suspects that a patient may be suffering from dry eyes, the next step is to determine the cause so treatment can be tailored appropriately.” (Dry Eyes and Contact Lenses)
A Treatable Problem
Fortunately, dry eye syndrome is usually treatable. An eye doctor can help discover the cause of the problem and then develop a plan for reducing and eliminating the bothersome symptoms of dry eye syndrome.
That plan first involves eliminating or protecting against factors contributing to the problem. This involves resolution of a medical issue, or it can mean wearing properly-fitting safety eyewear in windy or dusty environments. For some, the solution involves learning How to Prevent Digital Eye Strain. Additional relief from dry eye can come from using lens rewetting drops and even placing a drop on the inside of contacts before putting them in. Sometimes, a new brand of contact is necessary to help eliminate the problem.
Regardless of the reason and whether or not a person wears contacts, dry eye syndrome is treatable.
“Dry eye related discomfort or dry eye syndrome is one of the most frequent complaints heard by eye doctors. Dry eye treatment is very successful in relieving a patient’s symptoms of dry eyes.” (Dry Eye Syndrome — a Treatable Condition)