Many people get dryness with soft contact lenses. Sometimes that can be the contact lens material itself, but a lot of times the culprit is the contact lens care regimen they use. Here are my rules of thumb to avoid dryness:
- Replace your lenses on the approved schedule. (An old lens is a dry lens.)
- How many hours a day do you wear your lenses? Not all lenses are meant to be worn 14+ hours a day.
- Ask your eye doctor if he would recommend a certain kind of contact lens brand/material that could help decrease dryness and match your wear time lifestyle.
- What contact lens care system are you using? Ask your eye doctor for a recommendation considering your eye health and contact lens material.
The contact lens care system you buy is very important because not all contact lens materials are compatible with all contact lens solutions. This has been studied and the researchers publish a grid that helps us predict for most people what solutions they should use. Here is copy I grabbed from their website on January 26, 2011 (click to enlarge):
My observations are that that Optifree and ClearCare are generally compatible with contact lens materials. (Please don’t just buy the Unisol Saline because it won’t disinfect your lenses.) In general, the Acuvue2, Acuvue Oasys, and Biofinity materials are compatible with most contact lens solutions.
So, in short, if you experience dryness, first start by replacing your contacts according to the recommended schedule which I mark on your prescription paper. If you already do this, then the next step I would take is try changing your contact lens care system.
In your contact lens exam I recommend and mark on your contact lens prescription paper specific contact lens care systems for your eyes based on the lens material, your previous experiences with solutions, and your eye health.