Contacts and Eye Dryness

Suffering with eye dryness from your contacts? There could be a straightforward solution to the problem of contacts drying out your eyes.

A common side effect of continued contact lens wear is often eye dryness at the end of a long day at work.

A recent finding in Optometry sheds light on the idea that some soaps and multi purpose solutions used to care for your lenses are causing ‘’DSD” or Delayed Subjective Dryness, – which really just sounds like a technical term for these- contacts- are -driving -me -crazy!

Chemicals themselves or chemical residues on the lenses or on your hands can cause the condition that gets progressively worse over time. Once you change the chemical solution being used, the issue of dryness and discomfort can be rectified.

“Patients who are experiencing DSD often believe that it is a normal and expected consequence of contact lens wear, and so do not report it as a problem in early and moderate stages. Frequently they just give up wearing contacts because glasses are more convenient”, says Salvatore Shakir, OD.

Is it Delayed Subjective Dryness or Dry Eyes?

An eye exam can rule out the normal symptoms of dry eyes by assessing the tear film flow looking for evaporative and aqueous-deficient dry eyes. It is possible to have both dry eyes and DSD but these are two unrelated conditions and should be treated as such.
If your tear film appears otherwise normal, and your contacts are fitted correctly, the issue is highly likely to be DSD.

“DSD is always a chemical issue”, states Shakir. “Once the diagnosis is made you need only find and eliminate the offending chemical.”

DSD Signs to Look For…

  • your lenses start to feel dry after an initial period of good comfort; (delayed)
  • subjective dryness gets progressively worse over time;
  • artificial tears or lubricating drops offer little or no comfort.

5 Tips for avoiding DSD and ensuring comfortable contacts without the dryness…

  • While mutli-purpose solutions for soft lenses are convenient, if increased dryness and discomfort is an issue, switch to PuriLens or a peroxide cleaning solution;
  • Avoid contamination from your hands. Wash your hands with a glycerin-based soap like Neutrogena or Pears before fitting your lenses. Or use a specially prepared soap such as Vista-prep;
  • Avoid using everyday antibacterial or moisturising soaps as they can leave a chemical residue on your hands;
  • A daily cleaner and an unpreserved rinse is important to ensure no chemical residue is left on your lenses before fitting;
  • Daily disposable lenses are a good choice to avoid DSD, as long as a good prescription and fit can be found.

Some patients have trouble believing that something as simple as changing their solutions or soaps can have such an affect on the dryness associated with their contacts, suggests Shakir.

However, by following these simple suggestions, comfort with your lenses can be greatly increased and stop your contacts drying out your eyes too much through that long, busy day at work.


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