Local News

Relief In Sight For Dry-Eyed Contact Lens Users

Posted January 9, 2006

— Staring at computer screens, long commutes to work and air travel are among the biggest reasons why contact lens wearers complain of tired and dry eyes. Those activities can make wearing contacts uncomfortable, but there are ways to find relief.

After eight hours of staring at a computer at work, sometimes Courtney Schlichte brings work home. It used to give her eyes a painful workout.

"By the end of the day, it was all I could do to get home and take out my contacts and put my glasses on," she said.

Optometrist Dr. David Weitz said dry eye is the major reason many of his patients quit contacts. Rather than go back to glasses, many turn to expensive vision correction surgery.

For dry eyes, Weitz often recommends cutting back on caffeine and alcohol. Omega 3 fatty acids in the diet can relieve dry-eye symptoms for many patients. Weitz also suggests using artificial tear supplements and other preservative-free contact lens solutions.

"When you have a patient with dry eyes, you find that their eyes are more sensitive to preservatives in chemicals," Weitz said.

Schlichte found relief with the latest versions of silicone gel lenses.

"You can tell the difference when you first put them in. I never had problems with wanting to take them out or rubbing my eyes or anything," she said.

With the silicone lens, the wetting agent is within the lens itself. It has helped Schlichte stay away from awkward glasses and avoid the expense of surgery.

"To me, contacts is the best option for me," she said.

Health officials say people blink about 11,000 times a day. However, it is when people stare at a computer or keep their eyes on the road while driving that people tend to blink less.

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