Updated on 

July 28, 2022

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Best Contacts for Dry Eyes

Best Contacts for Dry Eyes

Approximately one in four patients report symptoms of dry eye.1 In addition, over 50 percent of contact lens wearers experience dry eye syndrome.2

This makes it one of the most common eye conditions. 

Contact lenses can actually be one of the causes of dry eye. They can also worsen symptoms for people with dry eyes.

Fortunately, contact lens technology has advanced significantly in recent years. Wearing contacts is now a viable option for most patients that suffer from dry eye. 

According to Dr. Molly King, OD FAAO "The best contact for patients with dry eye is a daily disposable lens. This eliminates the need for contact lens solutions, preservatives, and prevents protein build-up on the lenses."

Meet the Expert

Dr. Molly King is a residency-trained optometrist in Colorado. She currently works at a pediatric clinic and owns SimplEye, a telehealth service for patients with dry eye. She is a fellow of the American Academy of Optometry and a member of the American Optometric Association and Colorado Optometric Association.

However, there are other factors to consider, Dr. King adds. Eye doctors will perform a contact lens fitting and consider:

  • The fit of the lens
  • Lens movement
  • Lens material
  • DK value (oxygen permeability)

These are especially important for long term contact lens wear and use.

*NOTE: It's important to know that contact prescriptions and glasses prescriptions are different. If you only have glasses, your current prescription won't work for contact lenses. Make sure you have a professional contact lens fitting exam from an eye doctor before purchasing lenses from online retailers.

Top Recommendations from an Optometrist
Best Overall - Acuvue Oasys 1-Day
Best Weekly/Biweekly - Acuvue Oasys
Best Monthly - Acuvue Vita
Best Daily Disposable - Acuvue Oasys 1-Day
Best for Heavy Screen Users - Biofinity Energys
Best for Astigmatism - Acuvue Oasys 1-Day for Astigmatism
Best for High Astigmatism - Biofinity XR Toric
Best Multifocal - Bausch + Lomb Ultra for Presbyopia
Best for Sensitive Eyes - Acuvue Oasys 1-Day
Best Colored Lenses - Air Optix Colors

10 Best Contact Lenses for Dry Eyes

We asked Dr. King what the best contacts for dry eyes are.

Here are her choices:

Best Overall: Acuvue Oasys 1-Day

Many people with dry eyes turn to daily disposable lenses. Protein, calcium, lipids, and other substances can buildup on reusable lenses. Daily lenses are discarded after one use, eliminating this.

Acuvue Oasys are Dr. King's top recommendation for people with dry eye. HydraLuxe Technology lets your tears hydrate the lens as well as your eye. This helps keep them moist all day.

Lens Features:

  • High UV-A and UV-B protection
  • HydraLuxe Technology moisturizes the lens like your eye
  • 62% senofilcon A; 38% water
  • Manufacturer: Johnson & Johnson

Best Weekly/Biweekly: Acuvue Oasys

Weekly contact lenses can be worn for one to two weeks depending on your eyes’ response to the lens. Acuvue Oasys lenses are built with HYDRACLEAR® PLUS technology. This helps to stabilize your tear film resulting in less dryness.

Lens Features: 

  • Highest UV protection of any contact lens
  • BLINK STABILIZED® design to keep contacts in place
  • Material: 62% senofilcon A; 38% water
  • Manufacturer: Johnson & Johnson

Best Monthly: Acuvue Vita

Acuvue Vita lenses were designed to help alleviate dry eye symptoms that monthly contact lens wearers experience. Their HydraMax Technology maximizes and maintains moisture throughout the whole lens from week 1 to week 4.

Lens Features:

  • The highest level of UV protection‡ available in a contact lens
  • HydraMax Technology that provides moisture throughout the month
  • Material: 59% senofilcon C; 41% water
  • Manufacturer: Johnson & Johnson

Best Daily Disposable: Acuvue Oasys 1-Day

Acuvue Oasys tops this category as well. If you struggle with contact lens-induced dry eye, give these lenses a try.

Lens Features: 

  • High UV-A and UV-B protection
  • HydraLuxe Technology moisturizes the lens like your eye
  • 62% senofilcon A; 38% water
  • Manufacturer: Johnson & Johnson

Best for Heavy Screen Users: Biofinity Energys

Eye tiredness and dryness are common symptoms caused by screen use. The Biofinity Energys lens was designed specifically for people who use digital devices every day. 

The Digital Zone Optics® lens design helps you shift focus from your screen to your natural environment with less effort, reducing eye fatigue. They also feature Aquaform® technology that attracts and binds water throughout the lens. 

Lens Features:

  • Digital Zone Optics® lens design to reduce eye fatigue
  • Aquaform® Technology to minimize eye dryness
  • Material: comfilcon A 52%; 48% water
  • Manufacturer: CooperVision

Best for Astigmatism: Acuvue Oasys 1-Day for Astigmatism

In case you haven't noticed, eye doctors love Acuvue Oasys 1-Day contact lenses. These lenses provide the same benefits and dry eye relief for people with astigmatism.

Lens Features:

  • High UV-A and UV-B protection
  • HydraLuxe Technology moisturizes the lens like your eye
  • 62% senofilcon A; 38% water
  • Manufacturer: Johnson & Johnson

Best for High Astigmatism: Biofinity XR Toric

Biofinity XR Toric can correct very strong astigmatism; ±10.50D to ±20.00D (sphere) and to -5.75 (cylinder). This is some of the strongest vision correction in a contact lens. People who couldn't wear contacts before might be able to use these lenses.

Lens Features:

  • Can correct prescriptions up to +/-20.00D (sphere) and -5.75 (cylinder)
  • Aquaform Technology for high breathability and wettability
  • 52% comfilcon A; 48% water
  • Manufacturer: CooperVision

Best Multifocal: Bausch + Lomb ULTRA for Presbyopia

If you have presbyopia (farsightedness) and want to wear contact lenses, you’ll need multifocal lenses.

Dr. King recommends Bausch + Lomb ULTRA for Presbyopia. They have a unique 3-Zone Progressive design which gives you clear vision up close, far away, and in between. MoistureSeal technology helps the lenses retain 95% moisture up to 16 hours.

Lens Features:

  • 3-Zone Progressive design for clear vision close, far, and in between
  • MoistureSeal technology which maintains 95% of moisture for 16 hours
  • Material: 54% samfilcon A; 46% water
  • Manufacturer: Bausch + Lomb

Best for Sensitive Eyes: Acuvue Oasys 1-Day

Yet again, Acuvue Oasys 1-Day tops this category. Sensitive or dry eyes can benefit from daily disposable lenses. These lenses are many eye doctors' top choice for people with sensitive eyes.

Lens Features:

  • High UV-A and UV-B protection
  • HydraLuxe Technology moisturizes the lens like your eye
  • 62% senofilcon A; 38% water
  • Manufacturer: Johnson & Johnson

Best Colored Lenses: Air Optix Colors

Air Optix Colors are monthly lenses that transform the color of your eyes. They can be worn with or without eye correction. They are made from a state-of-the-art silicone hydrogel material that allows a high flow of oxygen. They also feature SmartShield® technology that prevents protein deposit buildup.

Lens Features:

  • 12 colors to choose from
  • SmartShield® Technology
  • Material: 67% polymer (lotrafilcon B); 33% water
  • Manufacturer: Alcon

Why Trust Us?

The Vision Center team spends several hours researching and writing every review page. We scour the internet and base all of our recommendations on:

  • Customer reviews
  • Product details and specifications
  • Company reputation and reports
  • Contemporary scholarly articles 

Every review is then reviewed, edited, and ultimately approved by our staff optometrist Dr. Melody Huang, O.D..

Always get an eye exam and contact lens fitting from an eye care professional before purchasing contact lenses online. Your eye doctor will be able to provide you with professional medical advice band recommendations.

What Causes Dry Eye?

Dry eye is a chronic condition. It also known as

  • Dry eye syndrome
  • Dry eye disease
  • Keratoconjunctivitis sicca

It is characterized by insufficient lubrication of your eyes. This is usually caused by lack of tears or a poor-quality tear film.

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Symptoms of dry eye include:

  • Burning or itching sensation
  • Eye pain, soreness, or fatigue
  • Foreign body sensation (can feel like an eyelash is in your eye)
  • Discharge
  • Redness
  • Blurry vision 
  • Light sensitivity
  • Glare

Common causes of dry eye include:

  • Old age. Your tear production decreases the older you get. Women have a higher risk of developing dry eye syndrome as they age.
  • Environment or climate. Sun, wind, pollution, pollen, dust, and other irritants can cause dry eyes or worsen symptoms. People living in dry climates are more prone to dry eye syndrome than humid climates.
  • Heavy screen usage. Blinking helps distribute your tears. Staring at digital devices reduces your blink rate. This makes your eyes dry out faster.
  • Contact lenses. Contacts can change the quality of your tear film, reduce oxygen flow, and add allergens and irritants in your eye.
  • Medications. Blood pressure medication, decongestants, allergy medication (antihistamines), sedatives, antidepressants, antipsychotics, hormonal therapies, diuretics, retinoids, and other medications can cause dry eye.
  • Eye surgery. Post-surgical dry eye is common for LASIK, cataract surgery, and other eye surgeries.
  • Other medical conditions. Rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, thyroid problems, lupus, and specific eye conditions such as blepharitis, entropion, and ectropion, are just some of the medical conditions that can cause dry eye.

What to Consider in Contact Lenses for Dry Eyes

Custom Fit

We highly recommend getting a professional contact lens fitting from a licensed eye doctor. First, they will perform an eye exam to check your prescription. This will include a visual acuity test. They may also perform additional tests to determine your general eye health. 

After the eye exam, they will gather additional information to determine the best contact lenses for you. This may include:

  • Corneal measurements (with a keratometer or a corneal topography)
  • Corneal health evaluation (using a biomicroscope/slit lamp)
  • Tear film evaluation 
  • Questions about your lifestyle

Once the exam is completed, they will make recommendations based on the outcome. Some eye doctors may provide free trial lenses.

Water Content

Many people assume that high water content is better for dry eyes, but it’s actually the opposite in most cases. Lenses with high water content can draw water away from the eyes. They are also thicker and may irritate your eyes, especially when blinking.

Breathability

Contacts cover your eyes and can prevent oxygen from reaching your cornea. The lens material and thickness will determine its oxygen permeability. The more oxygen that reaches your eyes, the better.

Care & Maintenance

The buildup of proteins, lipids, bacteria, and other substances on your lenses is one of the most common causes of dryness. Improper cleaning can increase your chances of dry eye or eye infection. 

It’s crucial to take good care of your contacts. Proper hygienic practices help reduce your chance of getting an infection. If you wear weekly or monthly contacts, be sure to clean your contacts and use proper contact lens solutions. However, daily contacts minimize buildup and keep your eyes healthy with minimal effort.

Best Places to Buy Contacts

Best Overall

1-800 Contacts is our #1 recommendation to buy contacts online.

Also Great
glasses usa logo

GlassesUSA has a huge selection of contacts, glasses, & sunglasses.

Best Places to Buy Glasses

Best Overall

Warby Parker has stylish, high-quality frames at affordable prices.

Also Great

Liingo Eyewear is another great option to buy glasses online.

Best on a Budget

EyeBuyDirect has a wide variety of budget frames starting at $6.

13 Cited Research Articles
  1. O'Brien, Paul D, and Louis M T Collum. “Dry eye: diagnosis and current treatment strategies.” Current allergy and asthma reports vol. 4,4 : 314-9. doi:10.1007/s11882-004-0077-2.
  2. Molina, Karen, et al. “Not All Dry Eye in Contact Lens Wear Is Contact Lens–Induced.” LWW, Eye & Contact Lens: Science & Clinical Practice, July 2020.
  3. Begley, Carolyn G., et al. “Responses of Contact Lens Wearers to a Dry Eye Survey : Optometry and Vision Science.” Optometry and Vision Science, American Academy of Optometry, Jan. 2000.
  4. Chalmers, Robin L, et al. “Contact Lens Dry Eye Questionnaire-8 (CLDEQ-8) and Opinion of Contact Lens Performance.” Optometry and Vision Science : Official Publication of the American Academy of Optometry, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Oct. 2012.   
  5. 1-DAY ACUVUE® MOIST for ASTIGMATISM.” ACUVUE® Contact Lenses.
  6. 1-DAY ACUVUE® MOIST.” ACUVUE® Contact Lenses
  7. 1-DAY ACUVUE® TruEye®.” ACUVUE® Contact Lenses.  
  8. ACUVUE® OASYS® 2-WEEK with HYDRACLEAR® PLUS.” ACUVUE® Contact Lenses.  
  9. Air Optix® COLORS Contact Lenses.” AIR OPTIX® Color Contact Lenses.
  10. AIR OPTIX® PLUS HYDRAGLYDE® MULTIFOCAL Contact Lenses.” AIR OPTIX® Multifocal Contact Lenses
  11. Bausch + Lomb ULTRA Contact Lenses with MoistureSeal Technology.” Bausch + Lomb. See Better. Live Better.  
  12. Biofinity Energys®.” CooperVision®, .  
  13. DAILIES TOTAL1® CONTACT LENSES.” DAILIES TOTAL1® Water Gradient Contact Lenses.
Melody Huang is an optometrist and freelance health writer. Through her writing, Dr. Huang enjoys educating patients on how to lead healthier and happier lives. She also has an interest in Eastern medicine practices and learning about integrative medicine. When she’s not working, Dr. Huang loves reviewing new skin care products, trying interesting food recipes, or hanging with her adopted cats.
Michael is the content strategist and a lead content writer for Vision Center. With eight years of experience in the world of content strategy and creation, Michael specializes in medical copywriting and advanced research methodologies.
https://www.visioncenter.org/author/michael/
Author: Michael Bayba  | UPDATED July 28, 2022
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Medical reviewer: Dr. Melody Huang, O.D.
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Dr. Melody Huang, O.D.
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The information provided on VisionCenter.org should not be used in place of actual information provided by a doctor or a specialist.

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