Unfortunately contact lens wearers are predisposed to dry eyes due to the thin material on the retina obstructing oxygen from the eye. Despite modern day contact lenses being designed to allow larger amounts of oxygen to permeate the eye, wearers can still experience dry, gritty eyes especially towards the end of the day. This is known as contact lens-induced dry eye (CLIDE).
So, any time tear production is compromised, evaporation increases significantly. Soft contact lenses have been shown to increase tear evaporation, and 30% to 50% of contact lens wearers report dry eye symptoms. (click HERE)
All kinds of contact lenses dehydrate on the eye, most likely through evaporation. Use of artificial tears and rewetting drops are the mainstay of treatment. Rewetting drops are a temporary solution, although they do offer some relief. Instruct the patient remove his lenses about halfway through the day and place them in a case with fresh saline for half an hour while also rehydrating her eyes using non-preserved artificial tears. This step allows the lens to rehydrate and can extend the wearing time of patients with more severe dry eye.
An easy way to avoid lens care solution interaction in CLIDE is to eliminate care solutions. Changing the patient to a daily disposable lens may be your best alternative. For those patients for whom this isn’t an option, changing the care regimen to a preservative-free hydrogen peroxide disinfection system is another choice. Let the patient know he may not see any immediate relief because it can take up to two weeks to purge the residual effects from previous lens care products.
In addition, patients with anterior segment diseases, such as blepharitis or meibomitis, are about twice as likely to have dry eye symptoms, at times related to systemic conditions such as rosacea. A recently published study concluded that contact lens wear is associated with a decrease in the number of functional meibomian glands. This decrease was proportional to the duration of lens wear.