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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.

Moorfields Private Eye Hospital and Covid-19: Keeping our patients and staff safe

We know some patients are feeling anxious about coming in for their appointments at the moment, but we want to reassure you with the measures we have put in place to help protect you. Moorfields Private is in a unique position as Moorfields Eye Hospital has been open for emergencies and sight saving eye care throughout the entire covid-19 pandemic. This experience has given Moorfields Private a wealth of knowledge around how best to protect patients and staff in these challenging times, while continuing to deliver world-leading eye care.

Further information about our safety measures can be found here.

For further information about Moorfields Private Eye Hospital’s services contact our New Patient Team on:

Freephone: 0800 3283 421

Email: moorfieldsprivate.enquiries@nhs.net

Website: www.moorfields-private.co.uk

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