Dry eye syndrome is a common eye problem, which results from the abnormalities in the tear film. The main function of the tear film is to lubricate the eyes for clear vision. A dry eye condition is also referred to as keratoconjunctivitis sicca. As the name suggests, there is insufficient secretion of tears or increased evaporation of tears, leading to itching and inflammation. Other symptoms of dry eyes are blurred vision, redness, burning eyes and excess watering. It is estimated that about 17 - 20 percent of people suffer from dry eyes.
The risk factors for developing dry eyes are age (common in those above 60 years), sex (women are more prone), strong medications, other health conditions and environmental factors. The treatment of dry eyes is usually done by using artificial tears and therapeutic contact lenses. In severe cases, the eye care specialist may consider surgery to treat dry eyes. There are customized lens types that are specially designed for the treatment of dry eyes.
Contact Lens Made for Dry Eyes
There is no doubt that prolonged wearing of contact lenses is one of the triggering factors for developing dry eyes. As we all know, water and polymers are major components for making contact lenses. In some brands, the lens may contain more than 60 percent water. Water in contact lens is necessary to moisten the eyes and provide comfort to the wearer. Nevertheless, as the day progresses the water from the lens evaporates, after which the lens absorb water from the tear film, resulting in dry eyes.
Even though there are no specific contact lenses for the complete recovery of dry eye syndrome, the lens manufacturers are using improved materials to create soft, customized contact lenses in order to solve the problem of lens dryness. A basic tip is to reduce the amount of water used for making lenses. Doing so minimizes the absorption of water from the tear film by the lenses. For example, silicon hydrogen lenses contain about 30 percent water, which is comparatively lesser than the traditional contact lens.
Some of the basic tips for combating dry eyes that can be followed by contact lens wearers include using contact lens wetting drops, re-soaking of contact lens within specific intervals, replacement of contact lenses after a certain period, changing contact lenses made up of different material and proper maintenance of the contact lenses. Another effective way to reduce eye dryness is proper eye care along with frequent and complete blinking of the eyes, which helps in wetting the lenses. One can also make use of prescription eye drops as recommended by the eye care specialist.
Many of the eye care specialists recommend Rigid Gas Permeable (RGP) contact lenses for patients with dry eyes. As RGP lenses are made up of only polymerized materials without water, the problem for water absorption from the tear film is solved. Nevertheless, it is to be noted that RGP lenses are rigid, which may worsen the irritation and inflammation in a dry eye condition. In such a case, one should consult with the doctor for replacement of the contact lenses.