If you suffer from dry eyes, you've probably never tried getting contact lenses. Contact lenses have the stigma that they can dry your eyes out or make the symptoms worse for people who already have dry eyes. However, with a little dry eye treatment, it's possible to wear contact lenses comfortably even with naturally dry eyes.
See Your Optometrist
First off, visit your optometrist to have your eyes evaluated. Explain the symptoms you're experiencing, and the optometrist will examine your eyes for some of the possible causes of dry eyes, including:
- Eyelid Inflammation—This disorder can either keep your eyelid from closing completely when you blink or close your eyes, drying out your eyes, or the inflammation can put pressure on your tear ducts, preventing them from secreting tears to keep your eyes lubricated.
- Cornea Inflammation—The itchiness your eyes are experiencing might actually be cornea inflammation. Corneal inflammation is usually due to an autoimmune disorder in which your immune system attacks healthy cells, resulting in inflammation.
- Allergies—Allergic reactions or sensitivities to environmental conditions like smog, carbon monoxide or other air pollutants can cause eye irritation.
Once your optometrist has diagnosed the problem, they'll be able to suggest a treatment for you.
Treatments for Dry Eyes
New medications are being developed to help treat the dry eye symptoms that 20 to 30 million Americans experience every day. These medications include prescription and over-the-counter treatments. Here are a few of the options your optometrist might suggest:
- Lubricant Eye Drops—Many varieties of eye drops specifically created for dry eyes exist. Instead of just saline, these drops create a protective film over your eye that help to hold the moisture your eye naturally produces, and provide additional moisture as well.
- Antibiotics For Eyelid Inflammation—If your eyelids are swollen, your optometrist may prescribe antibiotics to reduce the inflammation. Antibiotics can be given as eye drops or orally.
- Steroids For Corneal Inflammation—Steroids are used to treat an autoimmune response, and also help to reduce inflammation. Any steroid treatment will most likely be given in the form of eye drops.
New Contact Lenses For Dry Eyes
Contact lens manufacturers are developing contacts made out of materials that allow for superior oxygen circulation to your cornea, which prevents the eye from drying out. Your optometrist might prescribe try a high moisture content contact lens to see if it improves your dry eye condition.
Remember that selecting a pair of contacts may require a bit of trial and error. If your optometrist prescribes a pair of contact lenses that don't feel comfortable, make sure to let them know so you can adjust your treatment or type of contacts accordingly.