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Chronic dry eye is a common condition that affects millions of contact lens wearers. It can be so severe that it becomes uncomfortable or difficult for someone to wear their lenses.
Dry eyes affect around 16 million Americans every year.
In addition to pain or discomfort, dry eyes can cause burning, stinging, redness, or blurry vision; eye doctors have traditionally considered that people with dry eyes may not be good candidates for wearing contact lenses. However, due to new technology, a range of contact lenses is now suitable for people with dry eyes.
Contact lens options- Best Contact Lenses for Dry Eyes
People should consider different types of contact lenses, depending on the cause of dry eye. Options to look at can include:
Soft contacts may be better for people with chronic dry eyes. The materials used in soft contacts hold water and allow trusted Source oxygen to pass through the lens to let the eyes breathe.
Rigid gas permeable (RGP) lenses are sometimes called “hard” lenses. They allow oxygen to pass through to the eye. Scleral lenses are a specific type of RGP lens that reduces the amount of contact the lens has on the eye, which may reduce the risk of irritation.
Contact lenses have varying levels of wetness. Contacts with higher water content may be less comfortable for dry eyes because they can lose moisture to the environment and absorb water from tears, meaning they have less lubricating effects on the eyes. As such, people with dry eyes may benefit from contact lenses with lower water content, such as HEMA lenses.
These contact lenses are more porous than other contacts, letting more oxygen pass through the eye’s surface. Although they can be more expensive than other contacts, these lenses might be more comfortable for someone with dry eyes.
Research suggests replacing contacts can benefit people with dry eyes.
How did we choose?
Medical News Today chooses the best contacts for dry eyes based on the following criteria, where possible:
Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval:
All companies require FDA approval to ensure the contact lens brands are safe.
All companies require a valid prescription to order contact lenses.
Duration of wear:
Companies offer a range of contact lenses suitable for daily, weekly, or monthly wear.
The company manufactures contact lenses using safe and comfortable materials.
Best contact lenses for dry eyes
There are many different types and brands of contact lenses. Try several different kinds of lenses before finding one that is comfortable.
Best for easily irritated eyes:
Some companies claim that their contacts can comfort people who experience mild discomfort or dryness while wearing contact lenses. These lenses are designed with an aspheric shape, which allows more light to enter the eye.
Contact lenses that use a silicone hydrogel material. They are specially designed to allow oxygen to pass through the lens to the eye. The lens uses oxygen and water to create a soft, flexible lens, including multifocal lenses and lenses designed for people with astigmatism.
Best for UV protection:
The material used in these lenses combines a wetting agent with the contact lens formula. The Hydraclear technology aims to mimic the function of the tear film, which the manufacturer writes reduces the feeling of tired eyes. These lenses provide ultraviolet (UV) light protection against the sun’s rays. The lenses also have a visibility tint that helps insert and remove the lenses.
Best for extended wear:
These contact lenses keep eyes moist for up to 16 hours of wear with Hydraglyde moisture matrix technology, a thin layer of moisture that helps lenses remain comfortable. They also feature a patented technology that helps to repel buildup and retain moisture.
A person can wear these lenses for up to 16 hours for six days or shorter periods daily. However, these lenses cause mild burning, stinging, or discomfort.
Best for digital devices:
MoistureSeal® technology to keep lenses hydrated over long periods. Such products state these lenses are designed for people who use digital devices. Research shows that digital screens contribute to dry eyes by reducing a person’s blink rate. These lenses aim to keep the eyes hydrated and oxygenated throughout the day. The Ultra line also includes lenses designed for people with astigmatism and presbyopia.
Best water gradient lenses:
These are water gradient lenses with a 33% water content at the lens core. This technology aims to significantly reduce the discomfort people can experience while wearing contact lenses for extended periods by lubricating the lens so the eyelid can slide over it smoothly.
Best for allergy-prone eyes:
Lenses with a 58% water content are made with materials and a wetting agent that emulates tears. These lenses suit people with easily irritated, allergy-prone eyes. These lenses can block up to 82% of UVA and 97% of UVB rays. They come with visibility tints and indicators to help users easily insert and remove the lenses.
Best affordable Saline infused lenses:
These lenses feature a 58% water content and B12-infused Saline. The vitamin solution aims to reduce inflammation and comfort tired eyes.
Some companies claim it can reduce redness by 97% and eyestrain by 40%. However, the company must back up these claims with independent scientific studies. The lenses have tapered, smooth edges for additional comfort.
Best for new lens wearers:
The patented GMA/hydrogel copolymer technology allows the lenses to retain 97% moisture. The lenses are designed with a 54% water content. With 1-800 Contacts, a person can exchange new lenses and replace torn lenses for free, which may suit people who are new to wearing contact lenses and would like to try out different brands or those who are not used to taking them in and out and may damage them.