For contact lens wearers, finding the right eye drops can be a daunting task. With so many options available at the drugstore, it's essential to know which ones are the best for your specific eye complaint and safe to use with your contact lenses. In this comprehensive guide, we will provide you with all the information you need to effectively use eye drops with contact lenses and ensure optimal eye health.
When to Use Eye Drops and When to Avoid Them
Dry Eye: A Common Condition
Dry eye affects millions of adults in the United States, causing discomfort and irritation. It occurs when our eyes struggle to produce enough moisture to keep them lubricated. Tears, which are a complex mixture of oils, mucins, electrolytes, and proteins, play a crucial role in protecting the surface of our eyes. Without this protection, our eyes may sting, burn, become red, and feel heavy. Various factors such as pregnancy, certain medications, allergies, excessive computer use, and smoke exposure can contribute to dry eye.
It's important to note that dry eye symptoms can be similar to those of more serious eye diseases. If you have never been diagnosed with dry eyes before, it's advisable to consult with your doctor before self-medicating. However, if you have a simple case of dry eye, using eye drops is the first recommended step.
Contact Lens Eye Irritation: Understanding the Causes
While modern contact lenses incorporate advanced technology to retain moisture, they can still cause eye irritation. Contact lenses are considered foreign objects, and a small amount of discomfort is normal, especially for new wearers or those who wear lenses for an extended period. However, it's crucial to avoid rubbing your eyes when they feel irritated, as it can cause corneal scratches and potentially lead to vision problems. Rubbing your eyes can also dislodge your contact lenses, making them difficult to find and potentially damaging them.
When to See Your Optometrist
If dry eye is left untreated and becomes chronic, it can lead to corneal ulcers, which can result in blindness. Additionally, other eye diseases and infections may have similar symptoms to dry eye. Therefore, if you experience symptoms such as burning, itching, heavy eyelids, soreness, dryness, red eyes, eye discharge, light sensitivity, blurred vision, or a foreign body sensation for more than a few days, it is advisable to visit your optometrist for a thorough examination.
The Three Types of Eye Drops
To effectively treat your eye condition, it's essential to understand the different types of eye drops available:
1) Drops to Treat Dry Eye: These eye drops, often referred to as "artificial tears," mimic the composition of tears to keep the eyes' surface moist. Ingredients such as electrolytes, guar gum, and preservatives are commonly found in artificial tears. However, it's best to avoid eye drops that contain preservatives, as they can dry out the eyes.
2) Drops to Minimize Redness: If you wear contact lenses, it's crucial to avoid eye drops that claim to reduce redness. These drops, known as vasoconstrictors, shrink the blood vessels in the white part of the eyes. When used with contact lenses, these drops can leave deposits on your lenses, worsening redness.
3) Contact Lens Rewetting Drops: These drops are specifically designed to provide a more comfortable experience for contact lens wearers. As long as the packaging states that they are safe for use with contact lenses, you can use them without worry. Rewetting drops are compatible with your contacts and can flush out debris and protein deposits from your eyes while wearing your lenses.
Using Eye Drops With Contact Lenses
If you're using rewetting eye drops, follow these simple steps:
- Ensure your hands are clean.
- Tilt your head back.
- Hold your eyelids open.
- Drip the eye drops into your eyes.
However, if you're using any other type of eye drops, you need to remove your contact lenses first. Many over-the-counter eye drops were originally prescription-only and contain powerful medicines. Artificial tears, in particular, are thicker and meant to lubricate your eyes alone. They may contain oils that can permanently cloud your contacts. Anti-redness/allergy drops are also incompatible with contacts, as some of their ingredients do not interact well with lenses.
After using dry eye or allergy drops, wait for a full fifteen minutes before reinserting your contact lenses. It's crucial to follow this rule to allow the eye drops sufficient time to saturate your eyes and take effect. If you have any doubts about using eye drops with contact lenses, consult your optometrist for more information.
With this foolproof guide, you are now equipped with the knowledge to select and use the best eye drops for contact lens wearers. Remember to choose eye drops that are specifically designed for your condition and compatible with your contacts. By following the proper usage guidelines and seeking professional advice when necessary, you can maintain optimal eye health and enjoy a comfortable contact lens-wearing experience.
Ready to experience the benefits of using eye drops with contact lenses? Don't forget to check out our wide range of brand name contact lenses available at [your website URL]. Shop now and ensure clear vision and eye comfort every day.
Note: This article is intended for informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice. Always consult with a healthcare professional or optometrist for personalized recommendations and guidance.