Eye Drops for Contact Lenses: What Can You Use
It’s important to understand that not all eye drops are the same. In order to have a comfortable wearing experience, you need to know what eye drops you can use with contact lenses rather than use whatever was on sale that week at the drugstore.
Depending on the condition that is treated, eye drops can contain medication or just simply are a lubricating solution.
Eye drops for contact lenses
There are many different available types of eye drops, but it’s best to select the products that have been formulated specifically for use with contact lenses.
Without the right type of lubricating eye drops, your contact lenses could be damaged or clouded, impeding your vision and potentially causing problems for your eyes later on.
If you have an eye infection such as pink eye or allergies and eye injuries, you’d better avoid contact lenses while using prescribed eye drops because they are rarely intended for use with contact lenses. Your best bet is to wait for your eyes to heal and use medicated drops.
If you are using non-medicated eye drops to relieve dryness or irritation, you’ll find that most over-the-counter eye drops are divided into three categories: drops for dry eye, drops for redness, and drops for contact lens rewetting.
Drops for contact lens
Eye drops for contact lenses are also called rewetting drops. They lubricate your eye and hydrate the contact lenses to give you a comfortable wearing experience.
When the lens is gummy or sticky, your vision will become blurry or hazy. You may use rewetting drops as often as you need to as they improve comfort and helps clear out debris underneath your contact lenses.
You should use these drops before your eyes become too dry. Most drops won’t help once your lens attracts deposits and gets dirty. You will need to remove the lens and rub it with your solution to clean and re-insert it.
These eye drops are labelled “For use with soft contact lenses,” and are usually located next to contact lenses cleaning solutions in the store.
Drops for “dry eye”
Long-term use of contact lenses could lead to dry and irritated eyes. Dry eyes occur when your body does not produce enough tears to naturally nourish and lubricate the surface of your eye. Your vision may also be blurred and your eyes may water excessively. Dry eye is also a leading cause of people discontinuing wearing contact lens.
Dry eye drops come in a variety of formulations to not only lubricate the eye but also heal the eye’s surface. Some are thicker than others and may actually cloud your vision or “gum up” your contact lenses.
It is best to stick with eye drops that specifically state, “for contact lenses.” If you are unsure about which brand to use with your contacts, starts with a visit to your eye doctor so he or she can evaluate the cause of your dryness symptoms and determine the best way to increase your contact lenses wearing comfort.
Drops for “red eye”
Decongestant eye drops, or whitening eye drops, contain vasoconstrictors that eliminate red eyes by shrinking the tiny blood vessels on the white part of your eyes (sclera), making them less visible.
These eye drops could form deposits on the surface of your contact lenses. Be mindful that they can mask underlying infections or inflammations. If used too often, it could cause “rebound” redness, which occurs when the effect of the drops wears off, forcing you to sue them more and more. The blood vessels dilate larger, causing the eyes to appear bloodshot.
How to use eye drops with contact lenses
- Tilt your head back so the drops stay in the eye. You should remove your contact lenses if you are using dry eye drops and then reinsert your contact lenses after adding the eye drops to your eyes.
- Keep your eye open
- Hold the bottle over the eye and squeeze, being careful not to touch the eye with the bottle tip
- Close your eye for a moment, then blink to distribute
Contact lenses care
Proper contact lens care can help cut down on eye irritation.
- Wash your hands thoroughly before handling contact lenses or placing drops in your eyes.
- Clean your lenses regularly and make sure you store them in a clean case.
- Rinse the case with fresh solution then leave the empty case open to air-dry
- The case should be replaced every three months.
- Avoid showering while wearing contact lenses and remove them before using a hot tub or swimming.
- Don’t soak or rinse your lenses in tap water or saline.
- Don’t place a lens in your mouth for cleaning or wetting.
Book an eye exam as soon as you notice some eye irritation from using eye drops.