Assessing if your eyes are healthier enough to wear contact lenses is a part of every contact lens exam. Yet, experiencing slight dryness or developing dryness later shouldn’t prevent you from making your contacts work.
Dry eye therapy can help you get your symptoms under control and protect your eye health. Then, you can feel comfortable with glasses-free vision correction.
What to Look for in Contact Lenses
There are many types and styles of contact lenses. Each type has unique design features that make it the best for some patients and challenging for others. When you have dry eye, it helps to know what to look for in contact lenses to prevent or reduce symptoms.
Soft vs. RGP Contact Lenses
Contact lenses are generally divided into 2 types: soft or RGP.
Soft contact lenses are flexible and conform to the eye’s surface. Generally, soft contacts are preferred for sports or active lifestyles as there’s much less likely to move or dislodge from the eye. Silicone-hydrogels are a newer type of soft contact lens that improves oxygen flow. Generally, soft contact lenses are easier to adapt to and are the most popular type.
Rigid gas permeable (RGP) contact lenses are often called hard contact lenses. The durable material retains its shape even when you blink. The lenses allow oxygen to reach the eye easily. RGP contact lenses provide sharper vision correction because of their rigid form. Still, they can be more challenging to get comfortable wearing initially.
Pros and Cons
Daily disposable soft contact lenses prevent the risk of bacteria and protein buildup. By decreasing the risk of buildup, disposable contacts have a lower risk of infections and dry eye. Silicone-hydrogels may be better than hydrogel soft contacts, as moisture evaporates less readily.
With RGP contact lenses, more oxygen can reach the eye. Tears don’t adhere to the RGP lenses as easily as soft contact lenses.
Because of its unique features, scleral contact lenses (an RGP lens type) are often recommended for patients with dry eye or irregular corneas. The lens vaults over the cornea (rather than resting on it), supporting healing and allowing a tear reservoir to form. As a result, more oxygen reaches the eye, and the eye’s surface retains more hydration.
Both types have advantages and disadvantages, so patients may need to test both to determine which works best for their comfort, vision, and eye health. Your optometrist can explain more in detail and provide personalized recommendations.
Best Contact Lenses for Dry Eyes
There’s no one-size-fits-all solution for dry eye care. Your eyes are unique and may require customized solutions. However, some stand-out contact lens brands and types have a reputation for dry eye compatibility. Here are a few that might be worth a trial pair after discussing with your optometrist.
AIR OPTIX plus HydraGlyde by Alcon
Formerly a CIBA Vision product, the AIR OPTIX contact lenses are silicone-hydrogels designed for monthly wear. The SmartShield Technology is an ultra-thin protective layer that help prevents the buildup of harmful deposits on the lens.
The lenses stay continuously hydrated with HydraGlyde. The moisture technology attracts and maintains lens surface moisture for all-day comfort.
ACUVUE OASYS with HYDRACLEAR PLUS
ACUVUE OASYS with HYDRACLEAR PLUS is a soft contact lens replaced every 2 weeks. The lenses feature an embedded wetting agent inspired by the eye’s natural tear film. The wetting agent helps stabilizes the tear film and maintains moisture on the lens surface.
The OASYS contact lenses have unique benefits for screen time. The design helps reduce dry eye symptoms caused by digital eye strain. Additionally, OASYS lenses protect your eyes from sun damage, blocking 96.1% of UVA and 99.9% of UVB rays.
If you’re interested in a daily disposable, the OASYS 1-Day with HydraLuxe uses similar tear-inspired hydrating technology. Another option for patients with astigmatism is the OASYS 1-Day for Astigmatism, which also uses HydraLuxe technology.
Bausch + Lomb ULTRA
Bausch + Lomb ULTRA contact lenses are monthly disposable silicone hydrogels. The ULTRA lenses use MoistureSeal technology to maintain 95% of moisture for up to 16 hours. The high-water-content lenses can also help reduce symptoms caused by digital eye strain for more comfortable wear during screen time.
CooperVision Biofinity contact lenses are affordable silicone-hydrogel lenses with high breathability. The Aquaform Technology locks in moisture, maintaining a layer on the lens’ surface rather than taking water from your eyes. As a result, the lenses support comfort, keeping vision clear and eyes nourished.
The Biofinity lenses are replaced monthly.
CooperVision Biofinity Energys
The Biofinity Energys provide the same moisture retention as the Biofinity version. But, the Energys also consider screen-time comfort. With Digital Zone Optics, the lenses design eases the visual transition between on-screen to off-screen, soothes eye fatigue, and reduces muscle stress.
Biofinity Energys are designed for monthly replacement, daily and extended wear.
SynergEyes Ultra Health and UltraHealth FC are hybrid contact lenses for wearers with cornea conditions, including patients with keratoconus or post-eye surgery changes. The rigid center portion of the lens blocks UVA and UVA rays to help protect your eyes from the sun.
Hybrid lenses combine features of soft and RGP lenses. The UltraHealth is similar in size to a soft contact lens with an RGP center for crisp vision. The soft outer skirt provides comfort and a more secure fit.
UltraHealth materials allow high oxygen flow, and the design promotes tear circulation for comfortable all-day wear.
Looking for More Recommendations?
We’ve listed a handful of popular options for contact lenses for dry eye, but there are many more. Finding the right fit for your eye health and comfort should consider personal factors, which means getting to know you and your eyes.
Daniel Island Eye Care proudly offers the largest inventory of contact lenses in South Carolina. With more contact lens choices, we want to help you discover the best possible solution for quality and comfort. So book an appointment with us today!