Dry eye is a common problem for both soft and rigid contact lens wearers. A recent study estimated that over 10% of patients have symptomatic and treatable dry eye. Contact lens discomfort is often associated with – or due to – a dry eye condition. Insufficient or poor quality tears will mean that the contact lenses are not lubricated properly in the eye and this can lead to reduced compatibility between the contact lens and the ocular environment, which in turn can lead to decreased wearing time and discontinuation of contact lens wear.
The most common management strategy for dry eye is supplementing the tear film with over-the-counter artificial tears (ocular lubricants). It is usually best to use eye drops that have no preservatives so that the corneal surface is not further irritated. It must be stressed that this treatment only camouflages the underlying cause and often the effect only lasts a few minutes to a few hours depending on the severity. Some patients often prefer to use gels rather than drops as the former will usually tend to stay on the eye longer and hence have a longer lasting effect.
The tear film is basically made up of water, mucous and lipid (oil), and oil deficiency is one of the most common causes of dry eye. This can occur due to oil gland blockage or dietary insufficiency. Supplementation of Omega 3 oils can be a vital component to dry eye treatment and there are products (such as Thera Tears® Nutrition Gel Capsules) that provide effective treatment if Omega 3 oil is required. It is a unique mixture of pharmaceutical grade fish oil, flaxseed oil and Vitamin E.