Can You Wear Contacts if You Have Dry Eyes?

July 10, 2023

According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control), over 45 million Americans wear contact lenses, and about 49 million have dry eyes. These numbers are certainly alarming, if not downright dreadful. If you fit into both categories and wonder If you fit into both categories and wonder, can you wear contacts if you have dry eyes?, you've landed at just the right place.  

Can You Wear Contacts if You Have Dry Eyes? Here's What to Know

Let's break the ice for you. Dry eyes and contact lenses do not go well together. Wearing contact lenses with dry eye disease can be uncomfortable because your eyes don't make tears to keep contacts lubricated. 

So, do people with dry eyes always wear eyeglasses? We are sure this is exactly what you are thinking, and that's where we come in. It is possible to wear contact lenses comfortably if you have dry eyes, but you need to understand the problem first.

How Does Dry Eye Disease Affect Contact Lenses Comfort?

Dry Eye Disease significantly impacts the comfort of wearing contact lenses, while wearing contact lenses can be counterproductive to dry eyes. Here’s why: 

  • Contact lenses require a certain level of moisture to maintain their shape and provide clear vision. What happens if contact lenses dry out? When the eyes are dry, the contact lenses can become dry and lose shape, causing discomfort, irritation, and even vision problems. 


  • Contact lenses reduce the amount of oxygen that reaches your eyes, aggravating dry eye symptoms with decreased tear production and increased evaporation of tears. 


  • If your dry eyes have progressed to an advanced stage, it can cause contact lenses to stick to the surface of the eyes, making them difficult to remove. This further exacerbates the discomfort and can be potentially damaging to your eyes. 

So, ​​can you still wear contacts if you have dry eyes, or should you stop wearing contacts with dry eyes? 

Only a qualified eye doctor can accurately answer these questions after diagnosing your dry eye symptoms and investigating how effectively you are managing them. But rest assured that with the right care and handling, you can wear contact lenses with dry eyes without discomfort. Let’s find out how.

How to treat dry eyes with contacts?

Starting Your Dry Eye Treatment is the First Step Towards Wearing Contacts Comfortably.

With more and more patients having their dry eye conditions misdiagnosed by their clinicians, it is crucial that you get a correct diagnosis of your condition and understand whether wearing contact lenses is suitable for you. 

Many clinicians are not aware of the real reason behind dry eyes; hence, the diagnosis is often inaccurate. At the Centers for Dry Eye, we have done extensive research on dry eyes and understand the disease and its nuances. Our founder, Dr. James Rynerson, is known globally for his biofilm theory identifying the root cause of dry eyes. We have cured 1000+ patients of dry eyes. We want all our patients to be rid of the discomfort that accompanies dry eyes permanently, and our treatment plans are tailored to do just that. 

Once your dry eyes have been treated, you can start wearing contacts comfortably. However, it's important to choose the right type of contact lenses for your eyes and to follow proper hygiene and cleaning procedures to prevent any potential infections or complications in the future.

What Are Your Responsibilities When Wearing Contacts with Dry Eyes?

At this stage, you have started the treatment and are experiencing a change in your condition. Your eyes have reduced redness and itchiness, and the discomfort has started waning. Can you start wearing contact lenses now? Yes, but you have to be careful and take precautionary measures in order to avoid aggravating your symptoms. Take the following steps to be safe:

Select the best drops for dry eyes with contacts:

Use artificial tears or other lubricating eye drops before wearing contact lenses and occasionally while wearing lenses to help keep your eyes moisturized and to reduce symptoms of dry eyes. 

Choose the right type of contact lenses for dry eyes:

Select the best contact lenses for dry eyes. Disposable or silicone hydrogel lenses made of soft, flexible material or Rigid-Gas Permeable lenses can help reduce symptoms of dry eyes by retaining moisture and allowing for more oxygen to reach the eyes.

Select a suitable contact lens solution:

You can wear contacts if you have chronic dry eyes, but choose a lens solution with hydrating properties and a lack of preservatives. If not, your contacts can dry out fast.

Limit lens wear time:

If your dry eye symptoms are severe, limiting the time you wear your contact lenses can help reduce symptoms and prevent complications.

Practice good hygiene:

Cleaning and disinfecting your contact lenses properly, as well as following recommended replacement schedules, can help reduce the risk of eye infections and other complications associated with dry eye and contact lens wear.

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