Understanding Dry Eye: Impact of Contact Lens Wear  Eye Care March 13, 2024

Understanding Dry Eye: Impact of Contact Lens Wear 

Dry eye—a common yet often underestimated condition—can cast a shadow over the clarity of our vision. This becomes particularly pronounced for individuals who embrace the convenience and style of contact lenses. At Eyeonce Eye Clinic, we recognize the intricate relationship between lens wear and ocular comfort, making it our mission to shed light on the nuances of contact lens-related dry eye.

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The Importance of Addressing Dry Eye

Dry eye is a prevalent ocular condition that occurs when the eyes are unable to maintain an adequate layer of tears to lubricate and nourish the eye’s surface. This deficiency in tear production or quality can lead to discomfort, irritation, and if left unaddressed, potential damage to the surface of the eye.

Addressing dry eye is crucial for several reasons, each highlighting the significance of maintaining optimal eye health:

  • Discomfort Alleviation – Dry eye symptoms, including itching, burning, and a gritty sensation, can significantly impact daily life. Addressing dry eyes ensures relief from these discomforts, enhancing overall well-being.
  • Visual Clarity – Dry eyes can blur vision and cause fluctuations in eyesight. By addressing dry eye, individuals can enjoy improved visual clarity and a sharper focus, crucial for various activities, including reading, driving, and using digital devices.
  • Prevention of Complications – Persistent dry eye can lead to complications such as corneal abrasions or infections. Timely intervention and management are essential to prevent these complications and maintain the integrity of the eye’s surface.
  • Enhanced Contact Lens Experience – For individuals who wear contact lenses, managing dry eyes becomes even more critical. Dry eyes make lens wear uncomfortable and may lead to complications. Addressing dry eye ensures a more comfortable and sustainable contact lens experience.
  • Quality of life Improvement – Chronic dry eye can impact the quality of life, affecting daily activities and causing emotional distress. By addressing dry eye, individuals can enjoy a higher quality of life, free from the limitations imposed by ocular discomfort.
  • Long-term Eye Health – Prioritizing the management of dry eye contributes to the long-term health of the eyes. A well-lubricated and nourished ocular surface is less susceptible to potential damage and maintains its resilience against external factors.

Understanding and addressing dry eyes go beyond mere comfort; it is about safeguarding the health and vitality of our eyes. To learn more about how you can prevent dry eyes, book a consultation with Eyeonce Eye Clinic’s expert eye doctors Dr. Paik Dong Won and Dr. Jung Sae Rom.

How Contact Lenses and Dry Eyes Interact

Contact lenses, while a convenient and popular vision correction option, can sometimes tip the delicate balance of ocular moisture, contributing to the discomfort of dry eye. Our ophthalmologists at Eyeonce Eye break down the different possibilities of how contact lenses contribute to dry eyes.

  • Reduced Tear Circulation – One of the primary ways contact lenses may contribute to dry eyes is by impeding the natural circulation of tears. The lenses create a barrier between the cornea and the air, potentially limiting the interaction between the teats and the ocular surface. This reduction in tear circulation can lead to dryness and discomfort.
  • Dehydration Effects – Contact lenses, especially those worn for extended periods, can absorb eye moisture. This absorption contributes to the dehydration of the surrounding tissues, including the cornea. As a result, individuals may experience sensations of dryness and irritation.
  • Increased evaporation – The act of wearing contact lenses can increase the rate of tear evaporation. The lenses may disrupt the tear film’s stability, causing it to evaporate more quickly than usual. This heightened evaporation can leave the eyes susceptible to dryness, particularly in environments with low humidity.
  • Reduced Oxygen Supply – Certain types of contact lenses, particularly extended-wear lenses, may limit the amount of oxygen that reaches the cornea. This reduction in oxygen supply can lead to dry eye symptoms as the cornea relies on oxygen to maintain its health and vitality.
  • Accumulation of Debris – Contact lenses can sometimes trap debris or particles between the lens and the eye. This accumulation can irritate the eyes and trigger a dry eye response as the eyes attempt to flush out foreign material.

At Eyeonce, our approach goes beyond merely addressing symptoms. Dr. Paik Dong Won and Jung Sae Rom, with their expertise in ophthalmology, guide patients in choosing contact lenses that align with their eye health needs.

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Signs and Symptoms of Dry Eyes Due to Contact Lenses

Here are some common indicators that individuals may be experiencing dry eyes associated with the use of contact lenses:

  • Persistent Dryness – One of the primary signs is a persistent sensation of dryness, where individuals may feel as if their eyes lack the usual moisture, leading to discomfort and irritation.
  • Itching and Burning – Itching and burning sensations in the eyes are telltale signs of dry eyes. Contact lenses can exacerbate these symptoms, causing discomfort throughout the day.
  • Grittiness or Foreign Body Sensation – Individuals might experience a feeling of grittiness or as if there is a foreign body in the eye. This sensation can be indicative of insufficient lubrication.
  • Redness – Dry eyes often manifest with redness, signaling irritation and inflammation. The eyes may appear bloodshot, especially after extended contact lens wear.
  • Blurred Vision – Blurred vision, particularly towards the end of the day, can occur as a result of insufficient tear film stability caused by contact lenses.
  • Increased Sensitivity to Light – Individuals with contact lens-related dry eye may experience heightened sensitivity to light, a condition known as photophobia.
  • Discomfort During Lens Wear – Discomfort or a feeling of dryness while wearing contact lenses is a clear indication of potential issues. This discomfort can intensify as the day progresses.
  • Excessive Tearing – Paradoxically, some individuals may experience excessive tearing as a compensatory mechanism. The eyes produce more tears in response to perceived dryness, leading to watery eyes.
  • Difficulty Removing Lenses – Dry eyes can make it challenging to remove contact lenses, as they may adhere more closely to the eye’s surface. This can cause additional irritation during lens removal.
  • Stringy Discharge – A stringy or mucous-like discharge may develop, indicating an imbalance in the tear film composition associated with dry eyes.

Recognizing these signs and symptoms is pivotal in managing contact lens-related dry eyes effectively. If individuals experience persistent discomfort, it is crucial to consult with eye care professionals, such as those at Eyeonce Eye Clinic, for a comprehensive assessment and personalized guidance.

Managing Contact Lens-Related Dry Eyes

Managing the care of patients with contact lens-related dry eye involves a combination of preventive measures, lifestyle adjustments, and targeted treatments. Here are some recommendations for managing contact lens-related dry eye:

  • Regular Eye Exams
  • Contact Lens Evaluation
  • Hygiene and Lens Care
  • Lens and Material Design
  • Moisturizing Drops
  • Environmental Modifications
  • Nutrition and Hydration
  • Reduce Lens Wear Time
  • Prescription Medications
  • Education and Compliance
  • Consider Other Lens Options
  • Collaboration with Specialists

At Eyeonce Eye Clinic, our eye care specialists always tailor the management plan to the individual patient’s needs and regularly reassess their symptoms and overall eye health during follow-up appointments. Additionally, staying informed about the latest advancements in contact lens materials and dry eye treatments is crucial for providing optimal care.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

While contact lenses themselves do not directly cause dry eyes, improper lens care, extended wear, and using lenses that are not suitable for your eyes can contribute to dry eye symptoms. It is essential to follow proper hygiene practices, use recommended lens solutions, and consult with an eye care professional to ensure proper lens fit.

To alleviate dry eyes related to contact lens wear, consider using preservative-free lubricating eye drops regularly. Follow a proper lens care routine, including cleaning and disinfecting lenses, and ensure your lenses are the right fit for your eyes. Most importantly, consult your eye doctor for proper guidance.

Yes, certain contact lens materials and designs are better suited to prevent dry eyes. Silicone hydrogel lenses are known for their high oxygen permeability and moisture retention. Additionally, daily disposable lenses reduce the risk of lens deposits and may be more comfortable for some users. Consult with your eye care professional to determine the best lens type based on your individual needs and lifestyle.


Managing dry eyes associated with contact lens wear requires a multifaceted approach, including proper lens care, lifestyle adjustments, and targeted treatments. It is crucial to prioritize health through regular eye exams, adhering to good hygiene practices, and choosing lenses that promote comfort and moisture retention. If you are seeking optimal eye care and tailored solutions, Eyeonce Eye Clinic is your trusted partner. Embrace the journey to healthier, happier eyes. Book an appointment with our expert eye doctors today!