Contact Lenses and Dry Eye

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 hard copy, looking at your cellphone, other handheld 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.

If you want your eyes to be their healthiest, most comfortable, and always see their best, Dr. Muller recommends having both glasses and contact lenses, and wearing your contact lenses when going out socially, playing sports, or working out, and wearing your glasses the rest of the time. Wearing your contact lenses while reading for extended periods of time is very unhealthy for your eyes.