Eyes Like the Sahara? How to Stop Dry Eyes When You Wear Contacts
Our eyes are our windows to the world. When something's not right with them, it affects our enjoyment of everything. Dry, uncomfortable eyes when wearing contacts is a serious problem that needs some quick attention.
The good news is that you don't have to suffer and risk damaging your eyes. Here are some great tips on how to stop dry eyes today!
1. Artificial Tears
If your eyes are not producing enough of their own moisture, you may be suffering from a condition known as “dry eyes.” This is a common eye condition that affects an estimated 20.7 million Americans every year and climatic conditions can play a part. For instance, Las Vegas tops the chart for dry eyes in the country, no doubt in part due to its arid desert climate.
Although dry eyes can affect anyone, it’s more common in women. Hormonal factors can be at play, with menopausal women sometimes being particularly affected by it. In addition to generating dryness, the condition can also cause irritation. You might feel like there’s something in your eye, too.
The good news is that artificial tears, widely available at any drugstore or supermarket, are a great way to treat mild cases of dry eyes. You can use artificial tears that contain preservatives up to six times per day without causing harm. Some preservative-free varieties can be used up to 10 times per day.
However, it is possible to overuse them. If you're not sure how often to use artificial tears, or you need to use them more than is recommended, speak to your doctor.
2. Prescription Eye Drops
If over-the-counter artificial tears just aren't cutting the mustard any longer, then it's time to speak to your doctor about other options. Your eye doctor's examination may reveal a number of things. They may diagnose you with dry eye syndrome (keratoconjunctivitis sicca - KCS). This is a condition where the quality of your tears is low.
There are more components to tears than initially meet the eye. In addition to the obvious water component, there are also mucus and oil. They both work to form a protective layer over the eyes and prevent the water layer from evaporating too quickly. When the water level in your tears is insufficient, you develop dry eye syndrome.
The most commonly prescribed medication for treating dry eye syndrome is Restasis. Your doctor will discuss with you how often to apply it. It can be used in conjunction with contact lenses. Ideally, it should be applied at least 15 minutes before you put your lenses in.
Similar to Restasis, Xiidra can treat dry eyes. It is effective for reducing dry eyes in contacts as it reduces eye inflammation and increases your tear production. Contact lens wearers can use this safely, as long as they allow 15 minutes between the treatment and putting in contact lenses.
It should be noted though that this is not a quick fix. Xiidra is effective, but it can take several weeks of regular application for users to see improvements in their dry eye symptoms.
If instead of dry eye syndrome, inflammation is diagnosed, your doctor may choose to prescribe mild steroid eye drops for you. The goal is to reduce swelling and redness. This will allow your eye to return to its normal condition, lubricated and protected by your natural defense system.
3. Warm Compresses
If you'd rather try a natural solution to your dry eyes, then a warm compress can be a good place to start. And there is science behind this approach too.
Sometimes, debris from the eyelids can accumulate. This clogs the glands that produce oil along the edge of your eyes. A warm compress can help to naturally and gently unclog them. This makes your eyelids clean and clear so the oil can flow naturally.
To prepare a warm compress, simply rinse a clean washcloth in warm tap water, not hot. Then wring it out and before it cools, apply it to the eyes. Lie back and leave it in place for a minute.
The moisture and warmth will help to unclog the glands. A very gentle massage can also be beneficial. Even if you don’t have symptoms, keep doing this regularly to keep your eyes in optimal condition.
4. A Healthy Diet
We may not normally look to our dinner plate when thinking of how to stop dry eyes. However, key research suggests that people who eat higher levels of foods containing omega-3 fatty acids are at a lower risk of developing dry eyes. Conversely, those who eat more omega-6 fatty acids have a higher risk.
The takeaway? Tuna, walnuts, and salmon are in. On the other hand, grapeseed oil and pistachios, which are high in omega-6, may be worth avoiding for a while. You can also consider taking an omega-3 nutritional supplement to get these benefits.
5. Hydrating Contact Lenses
Contact lens technology has progressed a lot over the years. One of the key advances has been making them far more hydrating than before.
When choosing the right type of contact lenses for you, think about your history with dry eyes. If you've had dry eyes with contacts in the past, there may now be a lens that will work better for you. Look for brands that are promoted as being very hydrating. Some have blink activated technology that allows the contact lenses to continually hydrate your eyes.
The Takeaway: How to Stop Dry Eyes
Dry eyes can be a real drag for contact lens wearers, but they don't have to be! You just need to figure out how to stop dry eyes. Try these simple tips and we're sure that you'll find something that will work for you. Whether it's a classic natural remedy, a prescription, or hydrating contacts, you're sure to achieve eyes that are fresh and moist. And you’ll enjoy your contact lens experience without irritation.
At LensPure, we care about your comfort. We stock a wide range of leading brands so you can choose from the absolute best lenses for your needs. Check out our complete range of contact lenses today!