What is Dry Eye Syndrome? Can I Still Wear Contact Lenses?

By Dr. Richard Barnstein

I’ve had dry eye syndrome for many years now, and it’s no fun! Especially if you want to wear contact lenses! The good news is that in most cases, there is a way for many people with dry eyes to be able to wear contact lenses. Dry eyes is a lack of functioning of the “good tears” or oily lubricating tears in our eyes. Patients will often ask me, “if my eyes are dry, why do they water so much?” What I’ll explain is that, just like if you got poked in the eye, or a bug flew in your eye, where it starts to water, the same applies to dry eyes. The watering is a reflex response to your eyes saying, “my eyes feel sore!” There’s a lack of lubricating tears. The doctors at Professional Vision treat dry eyes in a multitude of ways. (From punctal plugs, to steroid drops, Restasis, and many more.) Dry eyes is a medical condition, where, if you have medical insurance, the visits for treatment are usually covered through your medical insurance. (Outside of co-pays, deductibles, ect…) This confuses many patients, because of the simplicity of the term, “dry eyes.” But make no mistake about it. Dry eyes is a real medical condition that affects millions of Americans each year.

If you suffer from dry eyes, (Symptoms include watering, grittiness, burning, and even blurred vision.) there may still be ways that you can wear contact lenses. I’m living proof of that. I suffer from dry eyes, and seasonal allergies ( Giant papillary conjunctivitis or GPC with the eyes) , where I fall into the “difficult to fit contact lens” category. Personally, I’ve had the most success with daily disposable (one day) contact lenses, when it comes to working with dry eyes. Sometimes, patients with dry eyes may have to modify their contact lens wearing schedule, where they may need to limit wearing their contact lenses to evenings, weekends, social wear, and exercise. If you have any questions, feel free to email me or leave comments.

Have a great day!

About Eyedrbarnstein

Dr. Richard Barnstein is an optometrist / partner with Professional Vision in the Baltimore area. ( Timonium and Carney ) Professional Vision is a boutique eyecare practice, with fashionable designer frames and sunglasses. We have an eye doctor available for eye appointments for contacts, comprehensive eye exams, and treatment of eye emergencies 6 days a week, at Timonium & Carney. Dr. Richard Barnstein, a Baltimore native, graduated from the Pennsylvania College of Optometry (now Salus University) in 1994. He attended James Madison University (1987-90) where he was accepted early into optometry school. Dr. Barnstein is therapeutically licensed to treat eye disease, and diagnoses and manages glaucoma. He also specializes in difficult contact lens fittings, dry eye disease, and LASIK co-management. Dr. Richard Barnstein is a member of the American Optometric Association and the Maryland Optometric Association. Dr. Richard Barnstein enjoys spending time with his wife, 2 children, and puppy goldendoodle. He's an avid Ravens, Terps, and Orioles fan, and loves live music. Profession Vision on Twitter Dr. Richard Barnstein on Twitter Check out Dr. Barnstein's Live Music and Sports Blog, Farmerstanproductions!
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