Dry Eye Syndrome is an eye condition that causes the following symptoms: burning, itching, stinging, grittiness, or a feeling of something being stuck in the eye. Dry Eye can be caused by a number of factors, such as genetics, aging, and medications.
When the eye does not naturally create enough tears, Dry Eye can develop. For contact lens wearers, this can be especially difficult.
The Eye Requires Natural Moisture
The eye requires natural moisture for the most comfortable, flexible fit. If there is insufficient moisture, as in the case of Dry Eye, wearing lenses can feel irritating and uncomfortable. It is difficult for Dry Eye sufferers to wear contacts because a healthy amount of moisture is required for a comfortable fit. The condition can also cause the lenses themselves to dry out.
What Would Cause Permanent Damage To The Lens?
At Times, the person will try to ease the painful symptoms by rubbing their eyes. The more they rub the eye, the higher the risk of a contact lens moving around or even ripping, which would cause permanent damage to the lens.
Temporary Relief By Using Artificial Tears
Temporary relief can be achieved by using artificial tears and simply putting in a fresh pair of lenses. Neither of these methods offers a permanent solution, and the excessive use of artificial tears and regular replacing lenses can be costly.
A Longer Term Solution
Even daily lens wearers find that replacing their contacts when they experience Dry Eye irritation alleviates the discomfort for only a short time. A longer-term solution is needed.
So how can Dry Eye sufferers achieve a happy medium?
It wasn’t too long ago that the idea of robots and self-driving cars was solely referred to in science fiction books and films. Today, these technologies exist, and they’re being applied in many industries from automotive to fashion, medicine, and more. The world of eye care is replete with technological innovations as well.
The First Contact Lenses
Since the first contact lens was created in the 19th century, contacts have come a long way. Over the years, this first version gave birth to contacts made from gas-permeable and silicone hydrogel materials. Furthermore, contact lenses have gotten smaller and more effective at correcting vision problems, such as Dry Eye (scleral lenses).
Multifocal Contact Lenses
Several new advancements in contact lens development include elements such as center-distance multifocal lenses. The theory is that because each individual’s pupil size is different, the lenses must be customized accordingly. Center-distance multifocal contacts are adjusted for a patient’s unique pupil size and fit.
Photochromic Contact Lenses
Photochromic eyeglasses aren’t new, but the contact lens versions certainly are. Traditional photochromic eyeglasses change according to the type of light they’re exposed to. In other words, they automatically darken in the sunlight and become lighter in the dark, which allows the wearer to use them as both glasses and sunglasses. What is new, however, is the development of contact lenses which can do exactly the same thing.
Scleral Lenses are larger in size than traditional contact lenses, as they sit on the white part of the eye — the sclera. These lenses replace help those with corneal problems see clearly and comfortably.
Scleral lenses are often chosen as an alternative to traditional contact lenses as they provide comfortable and clear vision. This is because the moisturizing solution that fills the space between the eyes and the back of the scleral lens keeps the eyes continuously moist and provides relief for those suffering from Dry Eyes or discomfort with traditional lenses.
They say that timing is everything, and that’s certainly true when it comes to our health. So when is the right time for a patient with Dry Eyes to use scleral lenses? Each patient’s condition and symptoms are unique, so it really depends on the severity of the symptoms and how often they occur. Each patient should discuss their case with Dr. Takeia Locke for a customized treatment plan.
We are spending much more time on our screens today than ever before.
In fact, Nielsen estimates that American adults spend more than 11 hours of screen time every day. For young adults (age 18-34), the number is even higher. This has some serious consequences on not just our social interactions, but our overall health as well— including eye health.
Screen Time & Dry Eyes
When one spends most of their day looking at a computer, TV, or smartphone screen, their eyesight can be adversely affected. This has particularly important consequences for those with Dry Eye Syndrome.
A Person Blinks Once Every 4 Seconds
On average, a person blinks once every 4 seconds, providing much-needed moisture for the eyes. For those staring at a screen, this number only decreases. This, in turn, diminishes the amount of moisture that coats the eyes, leading your eyes to become drier.
Those with Dry Eyes suffer from itchy, burning, or stinging eyes.
Prevalence of Digital Devices
Parents should be attentive to their children’s use of smartphones and tablets. According to the American Optometric Association, excessive screen time is linked to pediatric Dry Eye disease. So what can parents do to prevent this or improve the situation?
Child psychologists advise parents to limit screen time to an agreed-upon amount per day. Establish set rules for the family, such as putting phones away during meal times or special events. Furthermore, increasing outdoor activities like sports or hiking have been shown to prevent the development of pediatric Dry Eyes.
Nowadays, there are more options and advancements in both the treatment of Dry Eyes and Contact Lens design. Consider the above-mentioned issues when choosing the right lenses for you or your child. Make sure to discuss your medical or family history with Dr. Takeia Locke, including insights into your lifestyle that can affect your overall eye care.
For more information or to schedule a Dry Eye Screening, contact our office today.