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Lubricating eye drops and contact lenses – do they go together?

They are actually a comfortable alternative to glasses: contact lenses are clearly more practical especially for sport, going out or when it is raining. But lenses are only suitable to a limited extent for people with dry eyes as they also irritate the already affected cornea. In this case, it would make sense to use more eye lubricant. However, there are eye drops and eye drops – as a contact lens wearer, you should take certain points into account when buying them.

Soft contact lenses act like a sponge
Soft contact lenses act like a sponge and soak up any preserving agents contained in eye drops, which can damage the eye.

Contact lenses with dry eyes: what you should be careful of

The tear film, which normally completely lubricates the eye, is disrupted by wearing contact lenses. They cause a marked decrease in the stability of the tear film and encourage its evaporation. In some cases, this even triggers problems with healthy eyes. For people who already suffer from dry eyes, this can increase symptoms such as itching or burning many times over.

Good advice from an eye doctor or an optician with regard to the choice of suitable contact lenses is essential. Avoid ordering contact lenses on the Internet – precise and individual fitting by an expert plays an important role.

 

Lenses with a precisely fitted base curve (curvature), the smallest possible diameter and good permeable material which allows enough oxygen to the cornea are ideal for people with dry eyes.

 

There are now even soft contact lenses which are tailor-made for the requirements of dry eyes. These are lenses made from silicone and hydrogel. Gel lenses, which contain a reservoir of hyaluronan, were developed for particularly dry eyes. The reservoir dispenses small amounts of fluid with every blink.

Soft contact lenses act like a sponge

People who suffer from dry eyes but who do not want to forego wearing contact lenses should use eye drops as a supplement in order to stabilise the disrupted tear film. However, it is important to get comprehensive advice on which preparation is right for you: since how the contact lenses react to the eye drops is dependent on the type of lens.

With soft contact lenses, you should pay attention to the following:

 

  • Only use eye drops which are preservative-free. The aqueous composition of soft contact lenses absorbs harmful additives like a sponge, which can lead to localized overdosage and damage to the cornea.
  • Particularly recommendable are preservative- and phosphate-free lubricating eye drops with hyaluronan, such as HYLO-COMOD®.  Hyaluronan is an endogenous lubricant which can bind a lot of water and stabilises the tear film despite contact lenses. HYLO-products® can be administered directly onto the eyes of contact lens wearers.
  • If possible, it is best to wear the lenses during the day using eye drops and then to nurse the eyes at night time with special ointments. VitA-POS® eye ointment supports the tear film during the night with vitamin A. The next morning, you can wear your lenses again as usual.

General tips for contact lens wearers with dry eyes

Dry eyes are one problem with which contact lens wearers often have to battle. If an infection in the eye is added to this, it can be very unpleasant for the afflicted. Soft lenses in particular are prone to harbour germs. The following tips can help you to avoid this:

  • You should thoroughly wash your hands with soap before you put the lenses in or remove them.
  • The wearing time recommended by the manufacturer should not be exceeded.
  • After wearing them, you should rub the lenses with the cleaning solution in order to remove deposits. Following that, leave them to soak in it for several hours.
  • Remember to replace the storage container every four weeks.
  • Additionally, a protein remover (loosens particularly stubborn deposits) can be used once a week. In this case, it is really important to rinse the lenses well before placing them in your eyes. It is easier to use multi-purpose solutions, which combine cleaning solution and protein remover in one.
  • Tip: contact lenses should never be rinsed with water alone. This will not remove deposits and possible pathogens.

Conclusion

People with dry eyes who still want to wear contact lenses should take comprehensive advise from an eye doctor or optician with regard to two things: the type of lens and the composition of the lubricating eye drops.

As a general rule: lenses, which are permeable to oxygen are best suited for people with dry eyes. If you wear soft lenses, you should make sure that your eye drops do not contain preservatives or phosphates and contain hyaluronan.
Please also read: How to administer eye drops correctly