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Contact lenses, dry eyes and laser eye surgery

Written by Mr Bruce Allan, Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

12 November 2021
  • The stock explanation for eye discomfort in contact lens wearers is ‘you have dry eyes’, but this is usually incorrect.
  • Soft contact lenses soak up tears and are quickly coated in protein and bacteria.
  • Your eyes may feel irritated, especially after hours of wear, but this does not mean that your eyes are dry.
  • The important thing is to ensure that you have a consultation with an expert in eye surface problems before you dismiss the possibility of laser vision correction.
  • At Moorfields Private all our laser vision correction consultants are advanced specialists in the recognition and treatment of eye surface problems.

Contact lens wearers often suffer from feelings of grittiness or dryness, particularly at the end of the day. Contact lenses can gradually desensitise the eye surface, so most people get on well with them after a period of time. But tolerance often diminishes with age and many of us get fed up with the hassle of wearing contact lenses and being unable to see without them.

The stock explanation for eye discomfort in contact lens wearers is ‘you have dry eyes’, but this is usually incorrect.

It is certainly true to say that a variety of minor eye surface problems can contribute to discomfort in contact lenses, but these can usually be treated successfully. Soft contact lenses soak up tears, increase tear evaporation and destabilise the tear film in normal eyes. They also get covered in pollen and other proteins making hay fever type symptoms such as itchy eyes worse. Itching or gritty discomfort may be relieved using tear supplements (comfort drops), but this does not mean that your eyes are dry.

If your contact lenses feel uncomfortable and you’ve been told you have dry eyes, you may have been told that you cannot have laser eye correction. Again, this is usually incorrect.

Learn more

Find out more about laser treatment and vision correction at Moorfields Private.

If you would like to know more about Moorfields Private Eye Hospital’s services or to book an appointment, please call our New Patients Team:

Freephone: 0800 3283 421

Alternatively, you can complete the enquiry form below and we will get back in touch with you.

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