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Contact Lenses: Dry Eyes - Topic Overview

Not having enough tears (dry eye) is caused by a lack of one or more of the substances that make up tears.

Dry eyes are common in those who wear contact lenses. Eye diseases, other diseases, and certain medicines can also cause dry eyes.

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Symptoms of dry eyes include:

  • Feeling like there is something in the eye.
  • Tearing or burning (or both).
  • Dryness in the eye (a hot, sandy feeling).
  • Redness.

Symptoms may get worse at the end of the day and in drafty, dry, smoky, or dusty environments.

Dry eye may also cause a type of keratitis (inflammation of the cornea). Changes in the type of contact lens and the way the lens sits on the eye may help correct this problem.

Dry eye symptoms can be especially bad in people who wear soft contact lenses. Soft lenses absorb water from the eye surface and make the eye dry. Dryness may lead to patchy loss of cells in the cornea. Trying a different type of lens may help the problem.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: October 16, 2012
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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