Discomfort or having dry eyes while wearing contact lens is not something wearers need to live with, writes Aznim Ruhana Md Yusup
I’VE been wearing prescription spectacles since I was about 12. At one point, I switched to contact lens but now I’m back to wearing glasses. I like the look, in addition to them being more convenient and comfortable. But I still keep a box of daily contact lens for when I need to go sans spectacles.
Beyond aesthetic reasons, I find wearing contacts more conducive for outdoor or physical activities. I wear them swimming, for example. But I don’t like to wear contact lenses while I work using a computer or while I drive because they are not comfortable.
This discomfort is not uncommon. According to the US-based Tear Film and Ocular Surface Society, as many as 50 per cent of contact lens wearers report discomfort. But only less than a quarter of them say something about it, while the rest assume that discomfort is a normal part of the experience.
However, global eye care product provider Alcon claims to have a solution to this problem in the form of its Dailies Total1 contact lens.
It’s made with a silicone hydrogel core which transitions into a hydrophilic (or water-loving) ultrasoft surface gel. This allows the lens to retain water at varying levels (hence why it’s called water gradient lens) depending on the section of the lens.
“The water content on the lens surface is close to 100 per cent, which is essentially the same water content as your eyes,” says Ranukka Singham from Alcon Laboratories Malaysia. “That’s why when you wear it you don’t feel anything at all.”
“Meanwhile, the centre part allows a lot of oxygen to go through the lenses so you can wear it for a longer period of time,” she says, adding that Dailies Total1 is fit to wear for up to 16 hours.
EYE NEEDS AIR
When the eye doesn’t get enough oxygen, such as from prolonged contact lens wear, it can turn red as the blood capillaries there rise to the surface to absorb more oxygen. Meanwhile, people with dry eyes may find the Dailies Total1 more bearable to wear.
“It’s not a solution to dry eyes but for people with dry eyes who need to wear contact lens, this might be a good option for them,” says Ranukka. “But you will still need treatment such as lubricating eye drops.”
That said, some wearers may assume that dryness is a normal occurrence when wearing lens.
It’s not supposed to be that way, she says. Her suggestion is for every contact lens wearer to get their eyes checked by a trained specialist.
“If you have dry eyes and you don’t know about it, you probably will not get the optimal lens for your condition. You also need to understand your lifestyle. If you intend to wear it for long hours, go for a lens with a material that can withstand extended use.”
In terms of hygiene and eye care, daily contact lens tend to be safer than monthly ones.
“If a tear or wound is discovered on your cornea, and you’re wearing a monthly contact lens and you don’t clean it well, it might lead to an infection,” adds Ranukka.
Makeup can also stick to the lens. To avoid this, she advises that you wear the lens first, then apply eye makeup. Later on, remove the lens before cleaning the makeup off. It has to be done in this order to minimise contamination.
And while not specific to contact lens wearers, Ranukka adds that applying eyeliner on the inner eye or waterline can affect pores that are supposed to help with the oil secretion in tears.
“If you clog the pores, your tears can get dehydrated very quickly because oil isn’t secreted. Hence, dry eyes.”
TRY ME OUT
I was given three pairs of Alcon Dailies Total1 to try and they are probably the best contacts I’ve ever worn. I’ve worn them for 16 hours on a normal working day, I wore them while driving, doing chores and running errands, and I don’t have any issue with them.”
They were easy to put on and I didn’t feel like I had “something” in my eyes, which is a sensation that I’ve gotten with previous lenses.
At the end of 16 hours, the lenses remain as soft as they were that morning when I took them out of their cases.
It was also great that I had my eyes checked, not only to find out my current prescription power but also because it turned out that I had dry eyes. I had to apply eye drops for several days before I could safely wear the contacts, so going things over with an optometrist is certainly beneficial.
Dailies Total1 is available at selected eye care professionals nationwide. The list of stockists can be found at www.alconmalaysia.com/dt1. The product is sold in packs of 30 pieces with a recommended retail price of RM174.90 (including GST).