Dry eyes and contact lenses

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There is a lot of discussion going on about dry eyes and the use of contact lenses. Dry eyes prevent customers using contact lenses as much as they would like to. For this reason, some of them have even had to stop wearing contact lenses.

When lacrimal glands do not secrete enough lacrimal fluid, or the composition of lacrimal fluid is too watery, eyes get dry because the fluid evaporates too fast from the surface of the eye.

Prevalence and symptoms of dry eyes

Dry eyes are a common problem and even as much as 40 percent of all people suffer from it at some point of their lives. The symptoms increase with age. Women suffer from dry eyes more often than men because of their hormones.

Watery eyes, a feeling that there is something in the eye, redness and the feeling of dryness are common symptoms of dry eyes. Dry eyes get easily tired and even vision can get blurred when eyes get dry.

Allergies can cause same kind of symptoms as dry eyes. Therefore, it is sometimes difficult to distinguish if the symptoms are resulted from an allergy or dry eyes.

What causes dry eyes?

Most people suffer from dry eyes because lacrimal glands do not secrete enough lacrimal fluid. The composition of lacrimal fluid may also not be moistening enough.

External factors, such as dry room air, air conditioning, dust, cold weather, wind and sun can also cause eyes to dry.

When working long time in front of computer screen, you may ”forget” to blink your eyes. This causes eyes to dry because the lacrimal fluid is thus not evenly spread on the surface of the eye.

Some medical conditions, such as arthritis, and medication can also cause dry eyes.

Wearing contact lenses can also be a reason for dry eyes.

What kind of lenses should you choose if you have dry eyes?

If you suffer from dry eyes, you should choose lenses with a low water composition and silicon-hydrogel, or moisturizing disposable lenses.

You should avoid lenses that should be often changed as they can include appr. 55-80% of water. This kind of lens requires enough lacrimal fluid, because otherwise the lens gets dehydrated.

New silicon-hydrogel lenses’ water composition is low; appr. 24-40%. When there is a low fluid level in lenses, they are suitable even with a lower amount of lacrimal fluid.

When trying on contact lenses, you will find a suitable lens for you.

Moisturizing drops ease the symptoms of dry eyes. If you use contact lenses, be sure to select disposable droppers that do not include preservatives.

Please note that the advice and tips given in this blog are based on Finnish regulations and laws. Therefore, you need to verify the regulations and laws in your country from your own optician, optometrist or eye specialist.

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