Contact Lenses and Dry Eye
Contact lens wearers benefit immensely from treating their dry eye, environmental allergies, meibomian gland dysfunction, and any other causes of irritation and inflammation of their eyes and eyelids. Untreated, contact lens wearers who have these conditions often become contact lens intolerant, having to greatly reduce, or completely discontinue their contact lens wear. This is due to the inflammation associated with these conditions and its resultant damage to the surface of the eyes, including the tear producing glands which, over time, results in less tear production and greater discomfort. Contact lenses are designed to "hydroplane", or "float", on the tear film which covers the surface of the eyes. To comfortably wear contact lenses you need to have a sufficient tear film both qualitatively and quantitatively. Contact lens wear increases ocular irritation, especially while engaging in "visually intense" tasks such as reading, using your cellphone, other hand held devices or computers, driving or watching television. Of note, contact lens wear leads to decreased sensitivity of the cornea which results in reduced tear production further exacerbating dry eye, ocular irritation and contact lens intolerance.