New research from the Alcon Academy for Eyecare Excellence suggests that those experiencing contact lens discomfort can benefit by switching to daily disposable contact lenses. The study investigated 611 habitual reusable soft contact lens wearers who were switching to either hydrogel or silicone hydrogel daily disposable lenses. Participants completed questionnaires before their refitting, after two weeks of wearing daily disposables, and at the four month mark.
The main reason people stop wearing contact lenses is because they make their eyes feel uncomfortable or dry. Fortunately, there are several products and contact lens brands that specialize in relieving dry eyes.
AllAboutVision.com reports on strategies for reducing contact lens-induced dry eye (CLIDE) symptoms among contact lens wearers, including eye drops, a change in contact lens care regimen and a change to a lower-water contact lens material. Read more…
Spring allergy season is in full bloom, and many contact lens wearers are experiencing contact lens discomfort from eye allergies.
The solution may be to switch to eyeglasses at times, but other tips can help to relieve discomfort. Read more…
You can lower your risk of contact lens-related eye problems simply by following the lens replacement schedule specified by your eye doctor.
Researchers at the Centre for Contact Lens Research, University of Waterloo, evaluated the relationship between compliance with doctor-recommended lens replacement frequency and contact lens-related problems in a population of 501 contact lens wearers. All participants were patients at seven optometry practices in Canada, and all wore silicone hydrogel contact lenses. Read more…
Did your contact lenses feel dry outdoors this winter? New research suggests cold weather may be the cause of some cases of dry eye, which can lead to contact lens discomfort.
According to a study published recently in Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science, a drop in the surface temperature of the eye and eyelids to 86 degrees Fahrenheit (30 degrees Celsius) could be responsible for the onset or worsening of dry eye. This is just a few degrees below the normal temperature of the eye and eyelids, according to the researchers. Read more…
Advanced Vision Research has announced promising results from a pilot study evaluating the effect of its TheraTears Nutrition omega-3 supplement on people suffering from dry eyes — a study that may have implications for contact lens wearers experiencing dryness symptoms. Read more…
Many soft contact lenses wearers who experience dryness discomfort show no clinical sign of dry eyes, according to a new study.
Researchers examined 1,443 soft contact lens wearers in the United States and Canada and 932 lens wearers in the United Kingdom to determine the prevalence of contact lens-related dryness symptoms and the underlying causes of the discomfort. Read more…
Johnson & Johnson Vision Care recently expanded its voluntary recall of 1-Day Acuvue TruEye disposable contact lenses.
The precautionary recall is due to residual traces of a chemical from the manufacturing process on some lenses that can cause stinging and redness upon lens insertion. Read more…
Now that Acuvue recently introduced the first silicone hydrogel daily disposable contact lens approved by the FDA, wearers likely will want to know if benefits merit the extra cost of the lens material.
Acuvue’s 1-Day TruEye daily disposables are made of what the company describes as a “breathable” type of silicone hydrogel contact lens material known as narafilcon B.
Since disposable contacts were introduced in 1987, there has been plenty of controversy about how frequently you should replace your contacts to keep the lenses comfortable and your eyes healthy.
A consensus opinion doesn’t seem to exist among optometrists, as evidenced by a point-counterpoint discussion of the topic published in the June 2010 issue of Contact Lens Spectrum.
Colleen M. Riley, OD, vice president of professional development at Vistakon / Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, says disposable contact lenses should be replaced every two weeks for better vision, less contact lens discomfort and fewer complications.
Offering a different opinion, Peter D. Bergenske, OD, director of professional support at Ciba Vision North America, says popular and highly oxygen-permeable silicone hydrogel contact lenses make monthly replacement sufficient, and replacing contacts on a monthly basis is easier for contact lens wearers to remember than a two-week replacement schedule.
Other eye doctors prefer weekly replacement of disposable contacts. Weekly replacement is more likely to keep the lenses clear and comfortable, and a one-week replacement schedule is very easy for lens wearers to remember and comply with, they say.
Still other eye care practitioners say daily disposable contact lenses are the best choice. With daily disposables, there is no need to remember when to replace your contacts since they are discarded after a single use. Though daily disposable contacts may be the most costly option, many contact lens wearers prefer the convenience of not having to clean and disinfect their contacts at the end of the day, and there is no need to purchase lens care products.
So which contact lens replacement schedule is best for you? That may depend on your eyes as much as your personal preferences.
To determine the type of disposable contacts and the lens replacement schedule that are best for your needs, budget and lifestyle, it’s wise to discuss all options with your optometrist or ophthalmologist.
High-index lenses aren’t just for eyeglasses anymore. New high-index gas permeable (GP) contact lens materials now make GP contacts thinner and lighter, especially for people with high prescription powers.
Like high-index eyeglass lenses, high-index gas permeable contacts bend (refract) light more efficiently, so less lens material is needed for a given prescription power.
In the June 2010 issue of Contact Lens Spectrum, Ronald K. Watanabe, OD, associate professor of optometry at New England College of Optometry, outlines the benefits of high-index GP contacts. These include:
- Because high-index lenses are thinner than regular GP lenses, they fit more easily under the upper eyelid, which can improve comfort, especially in cases of high myopia.
- High-index GP lenses also are lighter, which can improve the upper eyelid’s ability to hold them properly in place on the eye.
- High-index materials also can increase the effective “add” power of aspheric GP multifocal contacts, potentially providing a better correction of presbyopia for contact lens wearers over age 40.
On the downside, high-index gas permeable contacts may not stay as moist as conventional GP lenses, possibly making them less comfortable for someone with dry eyes.
Also, high-index lenses have a lower oxygen permeability than some other GP lenses, which may be a problem for wearers whose corneas cannot tolerate a reduced oxygen supply, according to Dr. Watanabe.
Dry eye disease is widespread among contact lens wearers and is a significant reason people stop wearing contacts, according to Gary N. Foulks, MD.
Dr. Foulks is professor of ophthalmology at the University of Louisville (Louisville, Ky.) and a recognized expert in dry eyes. He discussed the condition at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology.
Dry eye symptoms are reported by 50 to 80 percent of people wearing contact lenses and may be the limiting factor in at least one-third of cases of contact lens wear failure, Dr. Foulks said.
An underlying cause of dry eye problems suffered by contact lens wearers is a condition called meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD), which is characterized by reduced secretions from oil glands located at the eyelid margins.
Oil secreted by meibomian glands becomes part of the tear film that coats the surface of the eye. If the meibomian glands become plugged or fail to secrete adequate oil for other reasons, the tear film quickly evaporates, leading to dry eye problems.
According to Dr. Foulks, MGD is present in 40 to 50 percent of patients in a typical optometric or contact lens practice.
Symptoms of meibomian gland dysfunction and dry eye are similar, and include:
- fluctuating vision (especially when reading or using a computer)
- eye irritiation
- a feeling something is “in” the eye (foreign body sensation)
- an eye itching or burning sensation
Treatment for MGD includes lid hygiene with hot compresses, followed by lid massage to open plugged meibomian glands. In more severe cases, topical antibiotic and anti-inflammatory medications may be needed.
Artificial tears and lubricating eye drops are the primary treatment for dry eye disease. Anti-inflammatory treatment with cyclosporine A (Restasis prescription eye drops) also has been shown to successfully manage dry eyes. Use of punctal plugs to slow the drainage of tears from the surface of the eye also can be helpful.
Recent research shows that dietary supplementation with flaxseed oil also may help reduce signs and symptoms of MGD and dry eye.
If your contact lenses are becoming uncomfortable and you suspect you have dry eyes, see your optometrist or ophthalmologist immediately. Early recognition and treatment of dry eye and MGD can control and prevent progression of these conditions and make your contact lens wear more comfortable.