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Contact lenses and dry eye

Hey guys. There has been a lot of talk on here lately about eyes and things. I had a few questions for those who wear contacts and/or have dry eye.

I went to the eye doctor last weekend and it was confirmed that I had dry eye, which wasn't surprising to me. Other than that, everything else was fine. No other inflammation or signs of disease. So...I hadn't worn contacts in about 2 years (pre-diagnosis) because...long story short...my husband and I moved up here form Florida 2 years ago and didn't find an eye doctor until a few months before I ended up in the hospital where I found out I had Crohn's. Prior to going to that new doctor I had been using Acuvue 2 contact lenses with no real problem. They did feel kind of dry after a while, so he recommended switching to Acuvue Advance. He also said the contacts I had were "way too small" and fitted me for larger lenses, which I thought was odd since other than dryness I didn't feel any discomfort. He didn't mention anything about me actually having dry eye though.

Well...ever since he changed my lenses and the size they didn't feel right. I felt like there was something in my eye all the time. So, I stopped wearing my lenses and then was put in the hospital...SO...cut to last week. That was my first new eye doctor experience since before diagnosis. This is also a completely different doctor than the one I went to who told me to switch my size and lenses. I told her my prior experience and that I wanted to get more contacts again.

So, we decided to try out the daily disposable kind. So, she gave me a couple brands to try on a trial basis (One is Focus Dailies Aqua Comfort Plus by CibaVision...the other I am not sure because they aren't labeled and aren't in a box) and a small bottle of dry eye lubricating drops. Well...I've been having problems with them still. Some days when I put them in, they go in just fine and I can wear them for maybe 6 hours without having to think about them. Other times, after I immediately put them in I feel a dry sensation and the constant need to blink to readjust the lenses on my eyeball. Those day I can only stand to wear them for a few hours before switching back to glasses.

I'm really frustrated. I never remember having so much problem before when I was on Acuvue 2 (not daily disposables--they were monthlies), but that was also prior to Crohn's.

So, I guess I'm looking for opinions and suggestions on what I should do. Because I'm testing out the two different lenses on at rial basis, I have a follow-up scheduled for tomorrow at 12:30 with my new eye doctor. I plan on telling her I'm not too impressed with the new lenses, even when I use the dry eye drops per her instruction. But, what should I do? Should I try going back to Acuvue 2 to see if those really are better? I guess I thought a newer technology lens would be better, but I'm just not convinced.

For those out there who wear contact lenses, what kind/brand do you use? Daily disposables...monthlies...what's your favorite brand? What sorts of drops/medication do you use to treat your dry eyes. The drops she gave me were called Blink for mild-moderate dry eye.

Sorry this post is so long...just need some input from others out there. Up until moving to Chicago, Acuvue 2 was the only contact lens I had ever used. But I could usually wear those the whole day without experiencing much problem until the end of the day. I'm not used to feeling the discomfort after only a few hours. Seems like a waste!


Super Moderator
Marisa, that sounds VERY similar to my eyes. When I was 11 I first needed glasses, and when I was about 15 my mom let me get contacts. I wore them for a couple of years and they were fine - I can recall having some minimal dry-eyes issues, but nothing that prevented me from wearing my contacts all day. When I was about 17 I switched to glasses because I liked the geeky aspect of them.

I've worn glasses since then. Right after graduating college, my best friend got married and I was her maid of honor. I decided that I didn't want to wear my glasses during her wedding, so I went to my eye doctor to get contacts. I didn't think it would be a problem since I had worn contacts years earlier, but they were so dry and itchy and irritating! I couldn't stand to wear them for more than a couple of hours. I ended up wearing them for my friend's wedding ceremony but I put my glasses on for the reception. I went back to my eye doc to ask what the deal was, and he gave me some non-answer about how birth control can cause dry eyes. I pretty much gave up at that point and went back to glasses.

So long story short, I don't have an answer for you, but I totally feel for you! The last time I wore contacts was about 8 years ago, and I do recall having some minor IBD-esque symptoms back then (I can remember getting anal fissures in college, although I didn't have a problem with pain or d or any really bad symptoms back then). So it could have been an early warning sign of IBD? My bad symptoms didn't crop up until Oct 2009. So again, I don't know, but I guess they could be related? The good news is that I'm fine with glasses, but if glasses aren't for you then I don't know what to tell you. I hope you can find a solution!
I use monthlies but only started wearing them in December. It's taken me ages to get the nerve to start wearing them because I have an eye phobia.

Anyway, luckily I've not had a problem with them so far. I love them although I've been trying not to wear them for too many hours in the day and try to rest them at the weekends.
I have to use Rigid Gas Permeable lenses as I've had Keratoconus for more than 25 years. The resulting vision defects can't be fixed with glasses or soft contact lenses. Typically, I wear the lenses 16 hours a day during the week and try to rest them a bit at weekends. Yes my eyes get dry, but if it gets too bad I use Hypromellose eye drops.

Cat - Yeah I have been wearing glasses full-time now for the 2 years I didn't go back to an eye doctor until recently. I don't mind wearing glasses, but sometimes I want to wear contacts for special occasions and if we're going to be outside a lot which would make wearing sunglasses a lot easier. I know I could get prescription sunglasses, but we got them priced out when I went last week for contacts and we just can't afford them on top of getting me contacts. So, we were just going to do the contacts. I'm wondering if I should request trying the Acuvue 2's again. She did mention that many medications can cause dry eye, so that could be the problem. It's just frustrating!

Misty - What brand of contacts do you use? I thought of trying the dailies to avoid infection type things, but I'm wondering if it may be more cost effective to get the monthlies.

Mark - Thanks for input. Maybe I just need to try some different lenses. I should be able to wear contacts for most of the day, not just a few hours. :p
Marisa -- I also have really dry eyes. I usually wear glasses, but will wear contacts on occasion. I use acuvue moist dailies, and blink eye lubricant drops for contacts. I put a drop of eye lubricant in the contact before I put it on. Previously, I used focus dailies, and one stuck to my eye so bad that it tore as I tried to remove it, and I had a little sliver of contact lens stuck in my eye for like a week. I haven't had trouble with the acuvue moist.
Yikes, PrettyKitty (cute name, by the way! ;)). That was how my doc suggested I use the sample of Blink eye drops she gave me to use with the sample contacts, but it works only half the time it seems. I was thinking of asking about the Moist Dailies by Acuvue since I've had success with their line of products. Do you have a clue what the pricing difference is between the two?
Mark - Thanks for input. Maybe I just need to try some different lenses. I should be able to wear contacts for most of the day, not just a few hours. :p
My lenses are very small corneal caps that are ~9mm in diameter. They are unlikely to be as comfortable as a soft lens. I've just built-up the endurance over a long time.

Hope you find something more comfortable.
Hi Marisa,

I have problems with dry eyes as well, the air con at work doesnt help either. When i first started wearing lenses i was on monthly, the only thing i miss i if they get dry you can take them out for two mins and then put the back in with a bit of solution but now I use daily disposables- Focus Dailies all day comfort as theyre the most comfortable for me, i had a period of wanting a better lens as i thought paying more would mean a better lens, but i couldnt find one. Ive tried the 1 day acuve moist lens and it really felt not right, the lens covers a bigger arrears and they are a nightmare to put in because the are so flimsy. I gave up with them as they felt like something stuck in my eye.

I actually wanted to get some gas permeable lens as i understood it they allow the eye to breath better and dont dry out, every time ive queried it the opticians said they arent suitable, i have quite poor eyesight but obviously theyll make more money out of you long term on soft lenses.

One thing to consider is Orthokeratology, you wear lenses at night which reshape the eye, when you wake you take them out and have perfect vision for the day. Unfortunately my eyesight is -7.25 so im outside the current limit.

hopes this helps
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Super Moderator
Marisa: Would you be able to get some of those glasses where the lenses are regular inside but change to sunglasses when you go outside? I think they're called Transitions or something like that. Might be worth looking into at least. I do have prescription sunglasses but they're from a few years ago so the prescription isn't up-to-date in them and each lens is like one step off from what my current prescription is. I agree that they're espensive, I can't afford to get new ones with my current prescription!

Edited to add: I recall that years ago I looked into those Transitions lenses for myself, but decided against them because I was told they don't work in the car as cars have UV coating on the windshield and windows which for some reason prevents the lenses from changing to sunglasses. They only work outdoors. Just one more thing to think about.
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Yeah, I thought about the Transitions lenses, but then I recalled my best friend back in middle school who had them (that was about 14 years ago, so maybe they've improved). She kept getting yelled at by her teachers to put away her sunglasses because they never changed back fully to regular lenses indoors. Haha. She had a hard time convincing them they were prescription sunglasses.

Oh, and I am already taking krill oil, similar to fish oil, so if it's doing something I can't imagine what it would be like if I wasn't taking it. ;)

Mister_Hostspur - I kind of had a similar problem when I tried the Acuvue Advance. They were bigger than my Acuvue 2's and I always had the sensation of sand in my eyes whenever I would put them in, which is why I stopped wearing them for so long.

I'm wondering now if I am having more problems with contacts not so much because of my dry eye and/or Crohn's, but because I live in a dryer climate compared to before. I grew up in Florida and lived there up until 2008 when we moved to Chicago. It's of course a lot more humid there. So, maybe I'm just more sensitive now. And there was a period of time that I wore my old contacts up here without any problems before finally trying that new doctor (and getting diagnosed with Crohn's). So, maybe it's just time to go back to the trusty Acuvue 2s!


Hiya Marisa

I wear glasses too and suffer with dry eyes. My contacts were making it worse, and my lenses were full of amoebas, floaters and bouncers, lol
My opthalmist chucked them down the sink!
For the past 4 years or so I've been wearing 'One Day Acuvue', disposible lenses,
abso bloody lutely fan bloody tastic!!! Very comfy.
I get checked regularly, I've still got dry eyes, but I'm more concerned with glaucoma, as my maternal Nana went blind with it.
I'm defo getting Transitions this time, I'm very photophobic, any bright light blinds me!

Hope you're doing ok Marisa?
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Thanks, Joan. I'm doing pretty good otherwise. Not sure if you read my other posts form a while ago. My inflammation has gone down to only mild now. So, I'm not experiencing any gastro problems really.

Just trying to figure out this dry eye business now ;) I did remember you saying you have the daily disposable lenses, which is why I mentioned it to my doc that I'd like to try them out. It does make more sense than letting lenses sit in their own filth for a month before throwing them away. ;) I don't want to give up on contacts just yet. There are so many different kinds out there. One of them MUST work for me!
Hi all,

I wore contact lenses for 14 years,tried all the soft ones & for the last few years had daily disposables (Acuvue)

In 2004 i had laser eye surgery by Dr Venteer @ Optimax,finchley rd, london.
He gave me my eyesight back.I have not had one problem/side affect.

I used to think that was my best decision,but 19 months ago i decided to try Serovera AMP.I won't make a better decision than that for the rest of my life.
Hey Dream, I have worked in the eye field for the past 6 years and I have crohns myself. I deal with contacts everyday and sometimes it takes a couple different tries to find the right ones that work for you. There is a product called Systane that is excellent for dry eyes and Im sure your optomertrist will have samples for you. It is also available at your drug store or wal mart. There is also a RX called Freshkote that is fantastic for dry eyes but your have to get a script for it. Now for extreme cases the optometrist can put in punctal plugs into your tear duct. It is a very small plastic tube that is inserted into your tear duct that keeps it open so that your eyes produce more of your own tears. It sounds extreme but it is rather common and they numb your eye so you dont have any discomfort. Now as far as contacts go if Acuvue II worked for you then push for those. They come in different base curves or sizes for your specific eye needs. That is an older lens and they have since come out with far better products that allow more oxygen to get to your eye. Acuvue Oasys with hyrdaclear is their newest produt. You also mentioned climate changes and I will be the first to tell you that has a lot to with your symptoms. I myself am from Florida which has a lot of moisture in the air and then you moved to a drastically different climate. Don't give up on contacts and try not to be frustrated I promise that there is one out there for you. Oh and the main thing that any person with Crohns needs to remember when at the eye dr is to mention that you HAVE CROHNS or IBD. Uveitis is the inflammation of the middle part of the eye and can occur in other places as well. This is not a common side effect of crohns but it is a possibility so its just good to mention it so the dr can look for it. Symptoms are extreme sensitivity to light, swelling of the eye, redness, possible flashes of light. It is easily treatable but if left undetected can have serious consequences. Ok sorry Im ranting I hope you find a pair that works for you:)
Thanks Starla. I had been reading about Acuvue OASYS, but wasn't happy with the Advance (which is the next step up from the Acuvue 2s), so wasn't sure if I was willing to try those as they are more expensive. I also read lots of reviews on them where people were unhappy with them. So, not sure...but we'll see what happens.

She did give me Blink eye drops which are supposed to be for dry eye. She did said I had mild dry eye, so nothing severe. And I did mention that I have Crohn's, so she was aware of that and we did many different tests to check for disease and all was good.

So, yeah...guess it couldn't hurt to mention trying those out again at least. :) Thanks!
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I've worn contacts for 20 years. Had no trouble what so ever until 10 years ago, started getting eye infections, can't remember what they were called. My eyes would clear up, I'd go back to contacts (soft lens...activue weekly...I slept in them as well) That went on for a couple years. Then I got wise and started taking them out at night. I had no more problems until about 6 months ago....no infections, just dry and itchy (gritty almost). I work outdoors everyday so I need sunglasses due to light sensitivity so I wear my lens at work and take them out AS SOON as I get home. I wear my glasses most weekends when I'm off. So.....idk what is going on but at least I'm not getting infections and that I'm grateful for. :)


Crohnsforum Science Advisor
Hi Dreamintwilight. I completely feel your contact lens pain. I had similar problems but just sucked it up for years figuring "this is how it is". I have an excellent eye doctor now and am so happy with my lenses. I cannot believe I went so long without getting it fixed.

My problem was that I could wear my lenses for about 30 minutes with not too much trouble (except they felt like I was putting sand in my eye along with my lens) but I could see....... until my lenses would literally "slip" every time I blinked and would build up this snotlike goo that would completely cover my lenses (gross sorry). I was constantly taking them out and washing them to get rid of the goo. As you can imagine they were very difficult to see out of.

It turns out I was having an immune response to:
1. my lenses themselves (the type of plastic they are made from);
2. the material added to the lenses to make them more comfortable for dry eyes (in Acuvue Oasys and Acuvue Hydraclear products);
3. My storage solution (it contains thimerosal which is a mercury-based preservative-also found in many vaccines).
4. My cleaning solution. I was allergic to the surfactant (soap) in it.

As you can see, my poor eyes were being assaulted with allergens. They were forming the goo to try and protect themselves from the foreign material. New is NOT necessarily better. :) I too am a former Acuvue 2 user. I was very happy with them. My previous doctors tried to "upgrade" me to the newer Acuvue products.

My new (very good) eye doctor has told me that many of his patients (especially ones with allergies or autoimmune diseases) have been having reactions to the Oasys and Hydraclear lubricant product in these lenses. He put me on Lotemax then Bepreve eyedrops to quiet down the immune response of my eye and switched me to Focus Dailies by Ciba Vision Corp. He said anyone with eye allergies should ONLY wear a daily product because over the period of a day pollen and other allergens build up on the lens. A fresh lens every day is the way to go. They are more expensive than the monthly wear lens but they are thinner because they do not have to last a month. Also, if you consider how much you spend per month on solutions for storage and cleaning solutions for them monthly which is not necessary for the dailies it is pretty close cost-wise.

Bottom line. They are your eyes. If you are comfortable in Acuvue 2 wear Acuvue 2 and do not let him convince you otherwise. If you are willing- see if you can try the Focus Dailies.... they are much thinner than the Acuvue 2. They are not specifically made for dry eye but they "breathe" better than the Acuvue 2.

Good luck and dont let your doctor convince you to take a product you are unhappy with. :)


Crohnsforum Science Advisor
Oh, one more thing. I noticed you have already tried the Focus Dailies Aquacomfort Plus and were unhappy. The ones I wear are the older version Focus Dailies with Visitint. I have a problem with my eyes reacting to any of those additives that are supposed to make lenses comfortable for dry eye.
Good luck!
Wow when I was first diagnosed and going through my first massive flare up I was having constant problems with my contacts put it down to the office environment the more I read on this site the more that adds up
Hi Judith!

Visiting one of my old posts (about to head to the eye doctor tomorrow to get some new glasses) and saw your reply from a year+ ago. That makes very much sense about being allergic to the additive. My eyes didn't goo up like that, but it's still possible I could have been having some sort of reaction to an additive. I do have regular allergies, so having a sensitivity to something else wouldn't be that unrealistic.

I never did find the right contacts and gave up again. I should have at least returned the contacts and gotten my money back since I never used them. Tomorrow I'm just going in for new glasses, but should be eligible for contacts come Jan. 1st. I am willing to give it one last chance before giving up. :) If I find success, I'll try to remember to post the results here.
For all those with dry eyes, you may want to look into Sjogren's Syndrome, another AI disease. Dry eyes is a classic symptom, even more so if accompanied with a dry mouth. I was diagnosed with SS after blood tests showed positive antibodies. There are other ways of making a diagnosis. It is worth looking into as there are treatment options available.

Cross-stitch gal

Staff member
I know this is an old thread. However, I've just been prescribed acuvue oasys hydraclear with astigmatism. I notice that many up to 2014 seem to have used acuvue contacts. But, was wondering if anyone may have tried Air Optix? If so, what are your thoughts? What I see the air optix is monthly rather than 2 week ones of acuvue....


Staff member
Hi Cross-stitch gal,

I have Alcon AIR OPTIX in right now. I really like them, very durable and comfortable. I say this after several years of use. Good product. Mine aren't for astigmatism though.

Cross-stitch gal

Staff member
Hmm...a friend of mine has the night and day type and really likes them. But, he doesn't have IBD. Sounds like this might be something to look into! Thanks :)
I use Oxylens dailies. I changed to these from a previous brand after twice managing to break apart a lens in my eye, my friends who wear lenses are astounded I managed to do this! Once I had to run over to the hospital on a Saturday night as I couldn't get the pieces out. They dripped some dye in my eye in order to make the bits show up and took them out, that was so painful.
When I was about to go away on holiday I enquired with my optician about using monthly lenses, and although I can't remember her exact wording she wouldn't recommend I take them as she believes these to be less hygienic.

I have eye dryness problems in the office, I think due to the air conditioning, some days it's really bad and I feel like I'll put some eye drops in (Blink intensive ones) and minutes later they seem to dry up again. Other days it's not so bad. Generally the eye drops provide me with some good relief, if I'm outdoors my eyes are absolutely fine, and have no need for the drops.
If I've worn my lenses being out for the day though, I tend to take them out in the evening or when I get home. I always feel a little relief taking them out at that point even if they haven't been particularly dry.
Also FYI if it's relevant, I started using lenses years before any gut/bowel issues I have.

I think you're doing the right thing, it's a good idea to try different brands and see if you can get something more comfortable.

Cross-stitch gal

Staff member
Ouch erk!!! I'm sorry to hear you've had so much problem! Glad that you've done ok on these others though. I'm happy to hear you seem to be ok too teeny!

Yes, I too use Blink eye drops for contacts regularly and they do help. I have a bottle here at home, one in my purse and one in my apron at work. So, I'm fully covered! At night I use some systane ultra drops before bed. Even if I never use the drops during work I don't worry about my eyes being too dry.