Suffering from itchy, dry eyes is more than an annoyance, it can result in a serious condition if left untreated. Contacts can often worsen the condition, but sometimes wearing contacts is unavoidable. Today, there are many lubricating dry eye drops, often referred to as rewetting drops, that provide soothing relief for contact lens wearers. However, sometimes these products are not as effective as more medicated, ophthalmic drops.
There are many misconceptions about wearing contacts and using eye drops - some say it’s fine to use regular eye drops while wearing contact lenses, but it can actually be damaging your eyes and lenses. Here are a few tips on how to use eye drops for dry eyes if you wear contact lenses.
1. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.
Often times many eye conditions are a result of bacteria entering the eye on account of failing to wash hands!
2. Remove contact lenses.
If you are wearing contact lenses, remove them and place in a contact lens container with contact lens solution. Lubricating dry eye drops work best when not wearing your contact lenses. Contact lenses can act as a sponge, soaking up anything you put in your eye, including chemicals not meant for contact lenses. Damage to the tear film can occur, as well as redness or infection.
Ensure that the tip of the eye drop bottle is clean and sanitized, an important step as sometimes the tip will come into contact with the eye. Check the bottle to verify the correct drops and schedule.
3. Check your drops
Tilting your head slightly back, gently pull down your lower eyelid with your index finger so a small pocket forms under your eyelid. Look up and gently squeeze the bottle, letting the drop fall into the pocket.
4. Apply the drops
Close your eyes, try not to blink and ‘look’ towards the floor. This will ensure the drops come into contact with your eyes most effectively. Gently apply pressure to your tear duct for a few seconds. Replace the bottle cap and store out of direct sunlight.
5. Close your eyes for 1 minute
6. Wait before putting contact lenses in
Wait approximately 10-15 minutes before putting your contacts back in, to avoid damaging the lenses or affecting the effects of the dry eye drops. Remember to always remove contacts before applying drops of any kind.
Using dry eye drops with contact lenses can cause irritation, infection, and in some cases, allergic reactions. These conditions can worsen and even cause permanent problems.
See all of our treatments and eye drops for dry eyes.