How Contact Lens Wearers Can Avoid Dry Eyes

Eye drops for dry eyes

Dry eyes are the bane of contact lens wearers. They are not nice. They are uncomfortable and they make our eyes look red. Over 3.3 million people in the UK wear contact lenses, according to a study by the Association of Contact Lens Manufacturers in 2009, the last year for which we have data. And every single one of these people is at risk of dry eyes.

Of course, you don't have to wear contact lenses to suffer from dry eyes, but unfortunately for us, contact lenses can cause dry eyes or make the condition worse in people who were already prone to dry eyes. But you don't have to suffer from dry eyes. There are ways to avoid it. 

What are Dry Eyes?

Believe me; you'd know if you had them. It can feel like a piece of sand or grit is stuck in your eye. Your eye itches and turns red. Your vision isn't as clear and can be foggy or blurred.

What Causes Dry Eyes?

There are several possible causes of dry eyes in contact lens wearers.

Lack of tears

In a normal, healthy eye, your eye produces tears to keep the eye moist and to help the eye to focus. Every time you blink you spread these tears across the surface of your eye. When you wear a contact lens, this lens covers the iris and can some stop of these tears reaching the iris, thus causing the eyes to dry out.

Wearing lenses for too long

Disposable soft contact lenses contain a large percentage of water, to help them fit better and to help to prevent your eyes from drying out. However, if you wear these lenses for too long, that is, if you wear them for longer than you are advised to do, they will start to dry out. The lenses will then start to absorb water from your tears and again your eyes will dry out. 

Infections and Ageing

Eye infections such as keratitis can also cause dry eyes. But they can also be a natural part of growing older. As we age, our eye lids don't necessarily spread the tears around the eyes as effectively as they did when we were younger. Also, in contact lens wearers, over time, the surface of the cornea can get scratched, making it harder for the tears to cover the eye effectively.

How to Avoid Dry Eyes

If none of the above helps, see your optician to rule out any eye infections.

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