Contact Lenses: Dry Eyes

Topic Overview

Not having enough tears (dry eye) is caused by a lack of one or more of the substances that make up tears.

Dry eyes are common in those who wear contact lenses. Eye diseases, other diseases, and certain medicines can also cause dry eyes.

Symptoms of dry eyes include:

  • Feeling like there is something in the eye.
  • Tearing or burning (or both).
  • Dryness in the eye (a hot, sandy feeling).
  • Redness.

Symptoms may get worse at the end of the day and in drafty, dry, smoky, or dusty environments.

Dry eye may also cause a type of keratitis (inflammation of the cornea). Changes in the type of contact lens and the way the lens sits on the eye may help correct this problem.

Dry eye symptoms can be especially bad in people who wear soft contact lenses. Soft lenses absorb water from the eye surface and make the eye dry. Dryness may lead to patchy loss of cells in the cornea. Trying a different type of lens may help the problem.

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Christopher J. Rudnisky, MD, MPH, FRCSC - Ophthalmology
Last Revised October 16, 2012

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