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Home » Clearwater, FL Eye Care Services » Dry Eye Treatment » Contact Lens Discomfort & Dry Eyes

Contact Lens Discomfort & Dry Eyes

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Changes in Your Tear Film Are a Common Cause

Have you been wearing contact lenses comfortably for years, but now your eyes feel dry, scratchy and irritated? You’re in good company. Many people who wear contact lenses will suddenly experience uncomfortable or painful symptoms – often caused by dry eyes. Yet this isn’t a reason to remove your lenses forever. Advanced eye care products, a lifestyle change, or a new type of lenses may solve your problem. We’re experienced in helping to restore comfortable vision to contact lens wearers with dry eyes. We’ll perform a thorough eye exam to determine what’s causing your condition, and then we’ll offer effective relief.

Effects of Contacts on Tear Lipids

Scientific studies have demonstrated that the layer of lipids in your natural tear film may be altered by wearing contact lenses. Your eyes’ normal tear film is composed of three layers of nourishing fluids. The outermost layer consists of lipids, which are fatty, waxy molecules that help prevent tears from evaporating. These lipids coat your eyes and preserve the stability of your tear film. In many contact lens wearers who have ocular discomfort, it was discovered that this lipid layer suffered more degradation.

Less Lipids Can Lead to Dry Eyes

A layer of aqueous fluids is beneath the fatty surface layer of your tear film. Therefore, without a supple layer of lipids, your eyes are at risk of drying out more quickly. This is one reason why the incidence of dry eyes is higher among contact lens wearers – especially after you’ve been wearing lenses for a while.

Restore Comfort to Wearing Contact Lenses

The most appropriate treatment depends upon the severity of your symptoms. Contact us for an appointment at our clinic, and our eye doctors will assess your eyes. In addition to a detailed eye examination, we’ll want to know about your symptoms, general lifestyle and visual needs.

If your discomfort and dry eyes are only occasional, we may recommend over-the-counter eye drops or artificial tears. As all eye drops are not compatible with all types of lenses, it’s important to follow our recommendations on which product to use. If your eyes are painful constantly when wearing contacts, we may prescribe a new type or material of lenses.

Liposomal Eyelid Spray

Many liposome sprays are available as a treatment for dry eyes. These eyelid sprays can help decrease the drying of your tear film. As a result, pain due to wearing contacts with dry eyes is alleviated. Studies demonstrate how these sprays can efficiently stabilize your tear film and improve the healthy composition of your eye lipids.

Dry eyes and uncomfortable symptoms are not a reason to throw out your contact lenses! Your first step should be a visit to our optometrist for an eye exam to rule out any other serious, underlying eye problems. Once the cause of your discomfort is determined, we’ll work with you patiently to find the best solution. Contact our office for an appointment today.

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Dear Northwood Vision patient,

Here is what we are asking you to do to make a smaller exposure footprint:

  1. If you have any symptoms of loss of taste or smell, upset stomach/diarrhea coughing, fever, difficulty breathing, running nose please reschedule your appointment in 30 days or more.
  2. Wash your hands or use sanitizer immediately upon entering.
  3. Try not to touch any surfaces in the office you do not have to touch (you can push our door open with your foot! Try not to touch your face!)
  4. If you are trying on glasses, we will collect them from you for proper cleaning.
  5. Contact lenses can be shipped to you at no cost with an active rx (minimum 2 boxes)
  6. We will ask that if possible you come alone to the appointment. Guests can wait outside or in the car unless they need to be with you..
  7. If you have been exposed please wear a mask or reschedule in case you are an asymptomatic carrier, masks are encouraged to be worn by each patient if you have one.
  8. We will extend Contact lens prescriptions up to 6 months if recently expired and can direct ship an order to you if you see clearly and your eyes are feeling healthy.
  9. For a fee, we can ship your glasses to you if desired and you can have them adjusted after the shelter in place order is lifted.

Thank you for your patience and understanding during this stressful and trying time. May God bless each of you and keep you well.

What is an Eye Emergency? Read more

Routine Care: “I see pretty well in my glasses or contact lenses. I just want to update my frame and / or get some new lenses to optimize my vision. I don’t have any pain or headaches and my eyes feel good and look normal in the mirror to me. I have never been told I have a disease in my eye that needs to be managed. I should definitely wait to come in until the “Shelter at Home” mandate is over. If I am a contact lens wearer, I understand Dr. Keats will allow me to get 3-6 months of contact lenses mailed to me even if my contact lenses are recently expired or close to expiring.”

Emergent Care: “I see poorly and am having difficulty functioning to drive, read, or see my computer. It is affecting my work. Waiting to be seen in 2 months would be very difficult for me to conduct my life.” Another form of emergent care… “I have other symptoms like headaches, red eyes, discharge, or I might have a disease that threatens my sight like diabetes, macular degeneration, glaucoma, a recent onset of flashes and floaters in my vision and so on.” A final type of emergent care would be a patient who realizes, “I am a patient who has a previously scheduled appointment for a medical condition Dr. Keats is managing to protect my sight, so I should plan on coming in for my visit. However, if my overall health is poor and the benefit to risk ratio says I should push this appointment off until the “Shelter at Home” mandate is lifted, it may be wise for me to reschedule for a later date.” In summary, emergent care means it is important that you be seen quickly for the protection of your visual health and current discomfort, or medical health, so you can function to do your work efficiently now and in the future.