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Can I Use Eye Drops With Contact Lenses for Dry Eye?

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A young woman in a blue stripe long sleeve uses eye drops for dry eye treatment.

Yes, using eye drops with contact lenses for dry eye relief is possible when you choose the right eye drops and speak with your optometrist about proper usage guidelines.

Maintaining your eye health while wearing contact lenses is crucial, and a comprehensive eye exam with an optometrist can play a significant role in effectively diagnosing and managing dry eye disease.

What Is Dry Eye Disease?

Dry eye disease can occur when your eyes lack sufficient tears, either from inadequate tear production or improper chemical composition of the tears. 

One of the most common causes of dry eye disease is meibomian gland dysfunction, an issue with the oil glands in the eyelids. However, various other factors can cause or contribute to dry eye disease—from dry, windy air to other eye conditions.

Symptoms of dry eye disease may include, but are not limited to:

  • Dry, gritty, scratchy, stinging, burning, irritated, or uncomfortable eyes
  • Eye redness
  • Watery eyes or excess tears
  • Blurred vision

Treatment Options for Dry Eye Problems with Contact Lenses

Several treatment options are available for individuals experiencing dry eye problems with contact lenses. These treatments aim to alleviate symptoms, improve tear production, and promote overall eye health.

Artificial Tears

Your optometrist can recommend artificial tears that help replace moisture in the eye. These eye drops can provide short-term relief for occasional dry eyes. 

It’s essential to consult your eye doctor before using an over-the-counter product. We can provide advice on the effects of eye drop preservatives and other factors to consider related to your specific eye health.

Medicated Eye Drops

If your dry eye is severe or caused by inflammation, prescription eye drops may be helpful. These eye drops are formulated to decrease inflammation and increase tear production, making them suitable for more severe cases of dry eye. 

It’s crucial to talk to your doctor about the cause and symptoms of your dry eye to determine if prescription eye drops are right for you.


This dry eye treatment technology uses thermal pulsations to address symptoms of dry eye caused by meibomian gland dysfunction.

LipiFlow is designed to work by gently applying heat to the inner and outer areas of your eyelids while massaging them from the outside. This process can help melt blockages in your meibomian glands, promoting a healthy flow of oils to support your tear film and help manage dry eye.

Disposable Contact Lenses

Daily disposable contact lenses can provide relief from dry eye symptoms for some contact lens wearers. Some of the more common options include soft contact lenses made from a hydrogel material, which contains water. These lenses are replaced daily, which can prevent the buildup of protein deposits that can contribute to dryness.

Some daily disposable lenses are crafted from silicone-based hydrogel, a material that can prevent water from evaporating too quickly to help your eyes remain moisturized for longer periods.

A close-up view of eye drops in clear, disposable eye droppers.

Using Your Eye Drops Safely

Using eye drops safely is important for maintaining eye health and the effectiveness of the medication. Following the proper steps can help prevent contamination and maximize the benefits of eye drops.

Here are the recommended steps for safely applying eye drops:

  • Follow all directions on the product package.
  • Wash your hands before applying eye drops to maintain cleanliness.
  • Remove your contacts before applying eye drops and wait 10 minutes after using the medication before re-inserting your contact lenses.
  • Don’t touch the tip of the dropper or let it touch your eye.
  • Tilt your head back, look upward, and pull your lower eyelid down to create a pouch. Hold the dropper over your eye and place one drop into the pouch. Look downward and gently close your eyes.
  • Place a finger on the corner of your eye near the nose and apply gentle pressure to prevent the medication from draining away from the eye. Avoid blinking and rubbing your eye as you do this.

Overcome Contact Lens Dryness

Finding relief from dry eye problems associated with contact lenses is possible with the right treatment plan for dry eye therapy. Understanding the various options available can help you work closely with our experienced team at Queensway Optometric Centre to determine the suitable solutions for your needs. 

Our dedicated team is committed to providing personalized care and guidance throughout your eye care journey, including comprehensive eye exams to help with optimal eye health and personalized care for dry eyes. 

Don’t let dry eye issues hold you back—take control of your eye care journey with Queensway Optometric Centre. Book an appointment with us today and let our experts help you find the right solution for your dry eye concerns.

Written by Lareina Yeung

Dr. Yeung graduated with her Honours Bachelor of Science and Doctor of Optometry degrees from the University of Waterloo in 2003. Upon graduation, she joined the team at Queensway Optometric Centre (QOC). In addition to her work at QOC, Dr. Yeung served on the Board of Directors of the Ontario Association of Optometrists (OAO) for 7 years, where she chaired and participated in various committees. Dr. Yeung spent her final year at the OAO as Vice President and is a recipient of the OAO President’s Award for her outstanding contribution to the profession.
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