Know Your Contact Lens Options in St. Louis & St. Charles
Contact lenses are typically very comfortable, so much so that people don’t even feel them in their eyes. However, if you have dry eye syndrome – wearing contacts can be painful. Fortunately, there are many types of contacts available nowadays, some of which are better suited for people with dry eye. If you suffer from this chronic and irritating condition, our St. Louis and St. Charles eye doctors will perform an eye exam to assess your eyes and recommend the ideal contacts.
Definition of Dry Eye
In brief, dry eye syndrome refers to an inadequate amount of tears or a poor quality tear film. Because your eyes aren’t lubricated properly, contact lenses can be uncomfortable. Symptoms may include burning, a feeling that sand is in your eyes, or pain. With about five million Americans suffering from dry eye, it’s a common occurrence.
A number of causes could be to blame for this condition, ranging from medical disorders to drug side effects to normal aging. Wearing contact lenses for extended periods can also lead to dry eye. Yet you don’t need to immediately stop wearing contacts. Dry eye treatment or simply changing to a different type of lens could resolve the problem. We offer a wide selection of contact lens types in our St. Louis and St. Charles offices, including daily contacts, extended wear, soft and hard lenses.
Types of Contact Lenses for Dry Eye
Soft lenses are composed from a flexible material call hydrogel that permits oxygen to pass through and reach your eye. They are available as disposable daily contacts, which are discarded at the end of each day, or as regular daily lenses and extended wear lenses – both of which must be disinfected regularly.
Daily contacts are considered a good option for dry eye, because they are tossed out before any protein deposits can build up on the surface, and protein deposits can exacerbate the symptoms of dry eye. Daily contacts made from silicone-hydrogel may be the best for dry eye, as they don’t allow water to evaporate easily from your eyes.
- Proclear by Coopervision: These are currently the only FDA-approved brand of disposable daily contacts that are proven to enhance comfort for contact lens wearers with dry eye. (They are also available in bifocal and toric lenses.) Proclear lenses contain phosphorylcholine, which attracts water and maintains moisture on your eye.
- Dailies Total 1 by Alcon: These single-use contact lenses have an innovative design with a water content of about 33% at the center of the lens and about 80% at the back and front surface. As a result, they offer improved wearing comfort that lasts throughout the whole day.
Daily and Extended Wear Lenses
A variety of daily, weekly and monthly contact lenses feature unique compositions that ensure high moisture retention, such as Biofinity and Acuvue Oasys. Air Optix may help with dry eye in a different way, as they allow a very high quantity of oxygen to pass through, which can improve the level of lubrication on your eye’s surface. Bausch and Lomb Ultra boast an original MoistureSeal technology that allows these contacts to hold moisture for up to 16 hours, which can significantly reduce contact lens-related dry eye symptoms.
The standard contact lens measures about 9 mm across and covers your iris. In contrast, scleral lenses have an extra-wide diameter that generally measures about 15-22 mm across. These specialized, gas permeable lenses cover over and rest on the white part (sclera) of your eye. Because of the way sclerals vault over the eye surface, a space is left that becomes a reservoir for tears. This layer of moisture can benefit people with dry eye syndrome by alleviating irritation when wearing contacts.
There are a number of contact lens options to relieve the painful sensations of your dry eyes! If you have dry eye, contact us to schedule a contact lens eye exam and fitting. Our St. Louis and St. Charles optometrists are experienced with fitting patients with dry eye with contact lenses, and we’ll find the most suitable lenses for your healthy and comfortable vision.