Sunday, December 21, 2008

When I take my contact lenses out, there is a film on them. What is that and how can I make them more comfy?

I am constantly putting rewetting drops in my eyes and the contacts stay wet - I know this because I don't get any halos around lights like I do when they got dry. But, throughout the day I become more and more conscious of them being in my eyes and when I take them out, they stick to themselves when folded and there is a strange film on them almost like what your fingerprint leaves... but when I rub the lens with my finger, the film doesn't move or change...
What is that film? Could it be from the rewetting drops? What can I do to make the lenses more comfortable?
I have a very high prescription (-12.5, -14.00) and have tried Focus Monthly's, O2Optix, and CooperVision's Proclear and the same thing happens with all three brands... I have tried different rewetting drops as well (Bauch & Laum for sensitive eyes, Blink, Clear Care, Optifree, as well as a prescription drop), but I have found that many of them sting, burn, or itch. I have only not had a problem with the Complete rewetting drops.
I am new to wearing contact lenses, so could the increasing discomfort during the day be because my eyes are not used to wearing them? My optometrist says we have pretty much run out of options, but I can see so much better with the contacts! I don't want to give up!!!

You really have tried about everything. I was going to mention switching to a non-ionic (protein resistant) material like ProClear--I would definitley stick with this material because it''s great for dryness, is deposit resistant and comes in a very wide power range. I would also keep using the Clear Care--by far the best system for cleaning and reduces chances of solution sensitivity--sounds like you have a pretty good eye doc for trying all thing though, you mentioned you still use re-wet drops which says to me your eyes ARE dry but also if you always have a film and your contact moves when you blink--you may have GPC-- a condition where the papillae under the upper eye lid get irritated from contact lens wear, the papillae secrete a sticky mucous that catches your lens every time you blink, makes your eyes feel dry and causes your lenses to gunk up. Get the doc to flip your eyelids inside out to check--if you have it, steroid drops and taking out your lenses for like 1-2 weeks will help but it could return if you don't clean your lenses well or wear them too long.
you don't mention your age but chances are you do actually have "clinically" dry eyes-- I would actually visit with an ophthalmologist
(MD) and they can prescribe drops that are proven to help dryness called "Restasis", also you may need something called "punctal plugs" which plug up the tear ducts so your tear fluid doesn't drain as quickly.
Worse case scenario--you may just not be a candidate for contact lenses--- there is a small percent who just cannot wear comfortably.

The film is most likely eye mucus (the stuff you get if you have hay fever or allergies - the stuff eye "bogie's" are made of when you wake up in the morning).
Your eyes are irritated by a foreign body resting upon them, so they produce a residue to soften and protect. This is the film that you are seeing over your contact lens.
This stuff can blur your vision while you wear the contact lens. Blinking helps to remove the blur.

Using the drops is watering down this residue and causing it to cling to your contact lens. Unfortunately, this is necessary - dry eyes can get damaged by a dry contact lens.

I would suggest reducing the wear of your contact lens for a little while, and slowly building up the time. As a rule I wouldn't suggest any more than 8 hours use in one sitting.

I also suggest experimenting with the various ranges of soft contact lens. Some absorb less moisture from your eye. In the past I used contact lens you could sleep in. They were more porous than usual contacts. I didn't sleep in them very often, but they made my eyes less dry.

Contacts are great, but some people don't like the way they feel. they aren't for everyone. When i first started using them it was quite irritating, but after 6 months it was very natural. I always had problems with a mucus film, but this was only when my eyes were tired or I had allergies.

The real problem I found with contacts was the abuse I used to give my eyes when I'd take them out or put them in.

Stick at it for a few months, just reduce the wear slightly and make sure your eyes are fully awake when you put them in. I would also suggest other options. Specsavers do a nice selection of contacts - there are many about and big brands aren't neccessarily best.

Be warned of opticians. Many of them don't wear or need glasses - this is something I've always found hard to understand. How can they know what it's like if they don't have that in common with you? Know your own body.

1 comment:

Chris said...

We have an ask the doctor feature on our contact lens website. If you'd like any answers to questions like these you could always visit at and click on "ask the doctor"