• Why Dry Eyes and Contact Lenses Don’t Mix Well

    It’s the time of year when the sweaters and coats come out, fires are blazing in the fireplace as we sip our favorite adult beverage, and we crank up the heat in our homes to stay warm. Cold weather can be fun if we participate in winter sports, but if we wear contacts, dry eyes and contact lenses don’t mix well and can ruin this time of the year.

    dry human eyeThe Problem with Cold Weather

    Contact lenses are a great alternative to glasses but certain times of the year they become a real issue for a lot of people. In the spring and summer many suffer from allergies which makes wearing their contacts miserable.

    In the winter, the air is dry and cold and the humidity drops, the forced air heat in our homes is dry, fireplaces produce smoke and pollutants, the wind is howling, even our car heaters are blowing dry heat on our faces and in our eyes. Should we go on? Winter time is a big problem for contact lens wearers. Even if you don’t normally have dry eyes, you can’t escape the dry environment.

    The Problem with Contact Lenses

    You made the decision many years ago, or perhaps even recently, to opt for contact lenses instead of glasses. It seemed like a good idea at the time. You were sure you could manage all the recommended care that goes with wearing them. Since then you have discovered that wearing contact lenses is not quite as simple as you thought. For instance:

    • They cost more than you thought they would. Between the cleaning solutions, buying and replacing your lenses, the re-wetting drops, and then all the follow up appointments with your eye doctor every year, it is costing more all the time.
    • You didn’t think the care and maintenance would be this time consuming. Every evening you must clean them before retiring for the night. Your eye doctor instructed you about the regimen to be performed every night: wash your hands thoroughly, dry them with a lint free cloth, remove your contacts and rub them inside and out with the cleaning solution, place them carefully in the case.
    • You are now discovering that the longer you wear contacts, the more dry your eyes are becoming.

    The Problem with Dry Eyes

    Dry eyes can occur at any age and are defined as a lack of adequate tear film. Either the tears evaporate too quickly or they are not the proper consistency for maintaining a healthy eye surface and good vision. The purpose of tears to wash away dirt and debris, and keep the eye moist thereby protecting it from infections.

    When our eyes do not produce enough tears, certain problems arise. Your eyes can burn or become itchy and irritated. Over the counter re-wetting drops and moisture drops don’t help much and the relief is short-lived.

    Dry eyes make it difficult to focus for any length of time on a particular task, like working on a computer, a smart phone, or be able to tolerate driving for long distances where you must focus on the road ahead. Your eyes become fatigued and your productivity at work may suffer if your dry eyes are constantly distracting you.

    Finally the conjunctiva or the lining of your eyelids and the soft white part of your eye can become inflamed and lead to infection.

    wear glasses when eyes get dry Worst-Case Scenario

    The worst-case scenario is when cold weather, dry eyes, and contact lenses meet. You can’t escape the cold environment, you wear contact lenses, and oh by the way, the contact lenses are making your eyes even drier. How does that work?

    • Wearing contacts limits the amount of oxygen and blocks moisture to your eye surface. We need that tear film to be comfortable and see well.
      • Our contact lenses inhibit that from happening, therefore causing our dry eyes, or actually making them even worse.

    What’s the solution?

    Of course you can always just continue to suffer -or move to a tropical island. But the solution may be right in front of you (if you can see it). Dr. Patodia and the eye specialists at Patodia Eye Institute can help you find out if laser vision correction will solve your dry eye problems this winter. Custom bladeless iLASIK known as Intralase is the most advanced technology available today. Contact us to find out if this is the answer for you.

    You know dry eyes and contact lenses don’t mix well, but relief is in sight. Schedule a free consultation, find out if you are a good candidate for LASIK and enjoy wintertime and all the holiday festivities even more.

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