If you have dry eyes, you may have felt that contact lenses would never work for you. In the past, getting contacts with dry eyes was notoriously difficult, and it could potentially leave your eyes feeling even drier and more miserable. These days, however, considerable steps have been taken to increase the comfort of people with dry eyes who want to wear contact lenses. Keep reading to discover how wearing contacts could work for you, even with dry eyes.
A big part of whether or not contacts are comfortable for people with dry eyes comes down to the material the contacts are made out of.
In the past, hard contact lenses were the norm, and they didn't do a good job of oxygenating the eyes. Nowadays, however, soft contacts are made out of pliable plastic that allows oxygen to permeate through them to the eye. This helps to keep the eye moisturized and oxygenated, which will help to reduce discomfort. Even hard lenses are now made out of a tougher plastic that - while stiff enough to be classified as a hard lens - still allow oxygen to pass through readily.
Soft lenses come in several different types of plastic. Most recently, contacts containing a material called phosphorylcholine have been helpful in retaining moisture in the eye more readily than other contact lens materials.
If you choose a soft contact lens, keep in mind that that lens will contain some water. While choosing a lens that has a higher water content might seem like the right choice to make, it actually works the opposite way.
Contact lenses containing a high amount of water tend to be more comfortable at first, but quickly become worse than contacts containing a standard amount of water. This is believed to be because dry eyes will absorb water more readily if there's a great deal of it in the contact lens, whereas a standard amount is absorbed more slowly over the course of a day.
Lastly, don't forget to look beyond contact lenses themselves to get help. If your eyes are so dry that the contacts just won't work, talk to your eye doctor about prescription eyedrops that can help. Unlike over the counter eye drops that just add moisture to the eye, prescription eye drops encourage your eye to create more of its own natural tears, which will help to keep your eyes moisturized naturally and make the contacts more comfortable.