Contact Lens Induced Dry Eye
Contact lens induced dry eye is one of the primary reasons that experienced contact lens wearers decide to stop wearing their contacts in their late 30’s and early 40’s (not to mention the need for magnification for close work). We have known for some time that contact lenses exacerbate the signs and symptoms of dry eye. So why has it taken so long for contact lens companies to develop lenses that do not worsen these symptoms?
The short answer is this…..it is hard! Thinking critically about it, we are introducing a foreign material to the eye which disrupts the physiological balance of our tear film. This makes the tear film more apt to evaporate and break down, resulting in irritation of the eye surface, or symptoms of dry eye.
Improving Contact Lens Dry Eye via Modality
Daily Disposable Contacts
Daily disposable contacts are becoming more and more popular with contact lens wearers today. Although these lenses are slightly more expensive than other modalities, patients have found the increase in price is worth the increase in convenience and improved end of day comfort. Daily disposable contacts are considerably thinner, do not collect deposits (since they are only worn for one day), and they are a heck of a lot more convenient. Read more benefits of daily disposable contacts.
Scleral Contact Lenses
Scleral contact lenses are becoming more popular for contact lens wearers today. Traditionally these lenses were saved for patients with advanced anterior segment pathology, but now these lenses are being used more often for normal daily wear. The unique design of these lenses make them a great option for patients suffering from dry eye. Scleral contact lenses rest on the sclera, or the white part of they eye, and arch over the central part of the cornea. The arched space is filled with preservative free saline, resulting in a completely covered and moisturized corneal surface. The lenses come in at a competitive price point, similar to daily disposable contacts, while offering excellent visual acuity and amazing comfort. Read more benefits of scleral contact lenses.
Improving Dry Eye via Solutions
Using brand name products recommended by your eye doctor is an effective way to improve end of day comfort with your current contact lenses. Therefore, instead of opting for the discount brand at your local shopping center, consider using one of the following cleaning systems designed to provide all day comfort.
Hydrogen peroxide based cleaning solutions (Clear Care®, Alcon)
Hydrogen peroxide based cleaning solutions are the industry standard for cleaning your soft contact lenses. Contact lenses are manufactured with certain properties designed to improve their interaction with your tear film. As the lens gets older, it starts to break down and does not interact with the tear film as well. You have probably noticed this phenomenon when comparing the comfort of your contacts in week three of wear versus week one. In addition to breaking down, your contact lenses also collect deposits. As you can imagine, more material adheres to the lenses the longer that you wear them. These materials can disrupt the function of the lens, leading to end of day dryness and overall discomfort. Hydrogen peroxide based solutions have continually proven to be the best option for caring for daily and extended wear soft contact lenses. Simply put, a cleaner lens surface leads to better wettability and improved end of day comfort.
Biotrue® multipurpose solution (Bausch & Lomb)
Biotrue® was designed to improve end of day comfort with your soft contact lenses by decreasing symptoms of dryness and irritation. Bausch & Lomb created this solution with a design inspired by the biology of your tear film. Biotrue® is designed to increase wettability and maintain hydration of your contact lens throughout the day by utilizing lubricants found naturally within your body. In addition to this increased lubrication, Biotrue® utilizes protein removal and antimicrobial ingredients to improve the performance of your contact lenses throughout the day.
Opti-Free® PureMoist® (Alcon)
Similar to Bioture®, Opti-Free® PureMoist is designed to improve end of day dryness by improving the wettability and lubrication of soft contact lenses. Additionally, this solution effectively disinfects and cleans the surface of these lenses.
We often recommend comparing BioTrue® to PureMoist® and evaluating if you perceive a difference in end of day comfort between the two solutions. If you are unsure of which brand is best for you, consider using a hydrogen peroxide based solution. When used as directed, this type of solution is still considered the industry standard for cleaning your soft contact lenses, improving end of day comfort, and decreasing your risk for complications from contact lens wear.