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What Happens if Contact Lenses Dry Out?

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A close-up of a human eye got an infection due to dried-out contact lenses.

If you wear contact lenses, you know that taking proper care and keeping them moist is essential for their comfort and effectiveness. But what happens if your contacts dry out?

Contact lenses are made from a type of plastic called hydrogel, which gets its name because it needs to stay hydrated to work properly. When hydrogel contact lenses dry out, they can become uncomfortable and less effective at correcting vision.

Let’s explore what happens if your contact lenses dry out, and how to know when it’s time to speak to your optometrist about different options for contact lenses.  

What Happens When Contact Lenses Dry Out? 

When contact lenses dry out, they become brittle and can easily tear or break. It can cause irritation and discomfort in the eye, as well as blurry vision. The lens may also stick to the surface of the eye, making it difficult to remove.

In addition to causing discomfort and blurry vision, wearing dry contact lenses can also increase your risk of an eye infection.

Taking care of your contact lenses is essential for maintaining healthy eyesight and avoiding potential problems caused by dried-out contacts.

How To Prevent Contact Lens Dryness 

If you’re a contact lens wearer, you may have experienced contact-related dry eye. It’s important to take the necessary steps to prevent contact lens dryness and keep your eyes healthy. Here are some tips on managing dry eye while wearing contact lenses:

  1. Make sure you’ve been fitted for your contact lenses by an eye doctor. It is essential that your lenses fit properly and don’t cause discomfort or irritation.
  2. Regularly get your eyes examined by an optometrist or ophthalmologist. It will allow your eye doctor to identify and treat underlying issues early.
  3. Avoid wearing contact lenses for extended periods, such as overnight or all day. Now and then, your eyes need a break from contacts. 
  4. Wash your hands with water and mild soap before handling your contacts, then thoroughly dry them with a lint-free towel or tissue before putting them in your eyes.
  5. If you suffer from dry eyes, you may prefer only wearing contacts for a few hours at a time or for specific activities like playing sports.
  6. Give your contact lenses a daily cleaning with fresh solution each night before storing them away in their case.
  7. Stay hydrated throughout the day—dehydration can lead to dryness in our bodies and eyes.

By following these tips, you can minimize contact lens dryness and support healthy vision.

If you experience discomfort or irritation while wearing contacts, consult an eye doctor as soon as possible for further advice and treatment options.

A new pair of contact lenses and cases, replacement from dried-out lenses.

What Should I Do if My Contacts Dry Out? 

If you think your contacts have dried out, don’t try putting them back in—instead, replace them with a new pair of lenses if possible. If you don’t have a fresh pair on hand, let your eyes rest without wearing any lenses until you can get a new pair from your optometrist or doctor.

If you experience any pain or discomfort while wearing dry contact lenses, seek immediate medical attention, as it could signify something more serious. 

Can You Wear Contacts After they Dry Out?

It’s not recommended to wear your contacts after they have dried out, as it can pose risks to your eye health. When contact lenses dry out, they become brittle and can warp, leading to discomfort, irritation, and potential damage to the cornea.

Rehydrating dried-out contacts with solutions like saline or water can introduce bacteria and other contaminants, increasing the risk of eye infections.

It’s best to discard dried-out lenses and use fresh, properly hydrated contacts to maintain eye health and comfort.

Staying Ahead of Dry Contact Lenses

Taking proper care of your contact lenses and caring for your overall eye health can help you avoid issues that might arise from lenses drying out.

If you ever experience discomfort or blurred vision when wearing contacts, it’s best to consult an eye care provider immediately. It could be a sign of something more serious and may require a professional diagnosis.

Contact Los Angeles EyeCare Optometry Group to schedule an appointment and learn more about how to care for your contact lenses, or visit our website to order a fresh set. 

Written by Total Vision

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