For many people, dry eyes are a constant annoyance, causing daily discomfort and sometimes pain. Patients with dry eye may be surprised to learn that wearing contact lenses for extended periods of time can cause dry eyes or make symptoms worse.
Choosing the right kind of contact lenses can make a big difference in comfort for those with dry eyes. Dr. Walter Choate helps patients find the best contacts for dry eyes at our practice serving Nashville, TN, and Goodlettsville, TN. Let's take a moment to consider some of the types of contact lenses Dr. Choate recommends for dry eyes.
Determining the Causes of Dry Eyes to Find the Best Contact Lenses
Contact lens wearers often experience dry eye syndrome, a condition that can leave the eyes feeling like they're burning or as if there's something gritty in them, like sand or dirt. When the eyes feel dry on a daily basis, it can be distracting and uncomfortable. Switching to contact lenses better suited for dry eyes can help.
Identifying the cause of dry eye syndrome is an important first step in determining which contact lenses are best for our patients in Nashville and neighboring Goodlettsville. Some causes include:
- Hormonal changes
- Taking certain medications
- Low-humidity conditions
- Staring at a computer screen and not blinking enough
- Wearing contact lenses
Changing Contact Lenses Can Help
If contact lenses alone are causing dry eyes, making changes to the lens type can help. For those who have other underlying causes of dry eye, additional treatments, such as lubricating eye drops, may be paired with different contact lenses to further improve dry eye symptoms.
The following types of contact lenses are some of the best options for people with dry eyes.
Soft Lenses with Low-water Content
Soft contact lenses are made of a material called hydrogel. Hydrogel contains water so soft contact lenses can be made with different water content levels.
Although it may seem that high-water content contact lenses would be best for dry eyes, they can actually dry out faster than those with lower water content levels.
Patients may need to try different water content levels before finding the right level for their dry eye needs.
Silicone-based Hydrogel Contact Lenses
Contact lenses that are made of silicone-based hydrogel are often beneficial for dry eye sufferers. Silicone-based hydrogel prevents water from evaporating from the lenses as quickly as non-silicone-based hydrogel lenses.
Slower water evaporation means the eyes tend to stay hydrated and comfortable longer than with other types of contact lenses.
Disposable Contact Lenses
Proteins can buildup on contact lenses that are worn for extended periods of time. Protein buildup can irritate the eyes and cause discomfort.
For those with dry eye irritation related to protein buildup, switching to disposable contact lenses that allow daily changing may help.
Scleral Contact Lenses
Most contact lenses cover the iris of the eye, leaving the white part of the eye, the sclera, exposed.
Scleral contact lenses cover the irises and part of the sclera. For some people, the added coverage helps reduce dry eye symptoms.
Find the Right Treatment for Your Eye Care Needs
If you are experiencing dry eye syndrome and would like to find out which contact lenses are best for your needs, we welcome you to call (615) 851-7575 and schedule a consultation at Choate Eye Associates.