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Eyewear for the dry eye patient

 

What is dry eye eyewear and how can it help?

Who should consider eyewear?

Best daytime eyewear selections

Read about Wiley X Climate Control and why we like them so much.

Additional daytime options

Covers additional wraparound eyewear styles, acrylic moisture chamber shields to modify regular eyeglasses, stick-on bifocals that can convert any of your eyewear to accommodate reading glasses needs, and other miscellaneous suggestions.

Best night eyewear selections

Read about tranquileyes hydrating therapy / sleep mask and why they are so popular with the chronic dry eye crowd.

Additional night options

Covers additional night eyewear options including Medtronic bubble eye bandages, and classic sleep masks or home-made solutions.

 
what is dry eye eyewear and how can it help?

People who suffer from severe dry eye can often benefit greatly from protective eyewear. There are an increasing number of options available including wraparound glasses/sunglasses, moisture chamber glasses/sunglasses, sleep masks or goggles, night bandages, side shields for glasses, and more.

Protective eyewear helps dry eye patients by:

  • Keeping in moisture
  • Reducing evaporation of tears (including artificial tear supplements) by limiting air flow over the eyes
  • Protecting sensitive, vulnerable eyes from irritants (dust, allergans, etc)
 
Who should consider dry eye eyewear?

You should definitely consider the daytime eyewear options described on this page if any of the following applies to you:

  • Your eyes are always uncomfortable out of doors in the wind.
  • You have stopped doing certain outdoors activities because your eyes just hurt too much.
  • Your eyes are always uncomfortable in stores like Wal-Mart.
  • You have a really hard time working in an office environment because of the low humidity, heat or a/c and fluorescent lighting.
  • Your eyes are very sensitive to light - sunlight, bright fluorescent lighting like in airports and warehouse type stores, etc.
  • You don't read for pleasure anymore because of dry eye.
  • Your eyes hurt a lot when driving because of dry eye.
  • You have severe chronic dry eye from any cause and it is affecting your quality of life.
  • You suffer from recurrent corneal erosions.
  • You have eyelid abnormalities preventing complete lid closure with every blink.
  • You wear scleral lenses.

You should definitely consider the night time eyewear options described on this page if any of the following applies to you:

  • You wake in the night with eye pain.
  • You have to get up in the night to apply additional lubricants (drops or goop) to your eyes.
  • You are using a greasy ointment to keep your eyes lubricated at night.
  • Your eyelids "stick" by morning.
  • You sometimes get corneal erosions or abrasions during the night.
  • Your eyelids do not close properly or completely due to blepharoplasty, other eye surgery, Bell's palsy, acoustic neuroma, etc.
  • You have been diagnosed with lagophthalmos.

Gone are the days when dry eyewear meant unsightly swim goggles used only as a very last resort by the patients in the very worst condition. Thankfully, there are much better products available now and doctors and patients are learning more and more about the benefits of good quality protective eyewear for dry eye.

 
best daytime eyewear selections

Panoptx

NEEDS UPDATING! PLEASE VISIT DRYEYESHOP.COM FOR MORE INFORMATION

Never mind that they've chosen a name that no one can spell or pronounce correctly, that they cater almost entirely for bikers, and that their website is impossible to navigate.

Panoptx make superb wraparound eyewear for dry eye, period. They are costly, particularly, if you have a prescription, but they are worth it. There is nothing like that feeling of slipping on your Panoptx and getting some relief when on the computer, or knowing that you can go outside even in a high wind and not be in constant pain.

WHAT MAKES IT SO GOOD? Wraparound framestyle and snug form-fitting medical grade foam lining ("Orbital Seal") provide maximal protection, moisture retention and peripheral light occlusion.

LIMITATIONS, DOWNSIDES? (1) Very high cost - even without a prescription. (2) In many regions it's very difficult to find a place to try them on locally - even if you find a dealer, they may or may not have the appropraite frames. (3) Side vision is somewhat limited, so some people find them less than ideal for driving. (4) Some people get a "tunnel vision" sensation from the combination wrap and eyecup. (5) Prescriptions can be subject to a lot of distortion or "fishbowl" sensation. (Only low prescriptions can be accommodated, by the way.). You take a definite risk in getting these with a prescription - first, that it's filled correctly, second, that the result will work well for you optically. When it's good it's great, but if it doesn't work, well, there went $500 down the toilet.

FOAM PROTECTION: Click here for a good picture of the Orbital Seal (on the left side). This has a medical grade breatheable foam lining.

WHERE TO TRY THEM ON: Visit 7eye.com for a dealer locator. Usually they are stocked at Harley Davidsons. Many other sports optical chains carry them and some general opticians and ophthalmologists' offices. DEFINITELY call before you go to be sure they have the model(s) you want to try on.

IF YOU CAN'T GET THEM LOCALLY: Call The Dry Eye Shop (1-877-693-7939) - I may be able to help you.

DIFFICULT PRESCRIPTION? We've heard you can get difficult prescriptions made at a place called SunRay Optical. Call 1 888 548-0558 and ask for Mo Dupree.

Wiley X Climate Control

Wiley X - another California eyewear company but this one best known for its military eyewear - have made great strides with making their Climate Control series useful to the dry eye crowd. They have several framestyles, all of which have light-adjusting and polarized lenses as well as a cheaper lens option available. I remember when I first started stocking them. Our local Fedex guy, who had done tours in Afghanistan and Iraq, told me he had three or four pairs and how terrific they worked for him in dry dusty places.

ADVANTAGES: (1) BETTER PRICING. $80 for the lower end lenses, and ~$135 for polarized or light-adjusting (vs. $195 for Panoptx) make this a more approachable product for a lot of people. (2) Less side vision blockage - more of a true wraparound lens style (compared to the chunkier side frame of the Panoptx). No "tunnel vision" effect since the lining is much lower profile. (3) Great polarized lenses. They have some kind of patent on their polarization process. Their polarized copper lens is really special. (4) Easier to get a decent fit without having to try them on. Panoptx tend to be a little more 'face-specific' than Wiley. There are only 2 Wileys that I really like to wear but in a pinch I could certainly wear any of the others; that is not true for me of the Panoptx.

Incidentally I personally have always preferred Wiley-X for driving because they give better side vision. The old ones I had (JP-3P) had the lower foam gasket which was not very helpful and was uncomfortable on the skin, but all the current frames in the Climate Control series have a good quality fully form-fitting foam that if well fitting can fit right to the face.

FRAMESTYLES: Click here for a page with all of the "Climate Control" styles but please, please click on the individual ones for more detail as they aren't great pictures - they are all showing a strap which makes them look like goggles, and all in black. In general they are a sportier type of line than Panoptx - not quite as 'upscale' looking as some of the Panoptx. On the other hand they are also a lighter-weight, lower profile frame so some people find they look less "goggle"-like than Panoptx. The gasket is removeable in all frames.

LENSES: See individual frames for specific combinations. Each frame has one cheap lens ($80), one polarized and one light adjusting option. Colors vary by frame.

LINING: "Facial Cavity" seal. This is way better than the old SealTek ones I used to wear... it's actually not much different from the Panoptx lining and does a very good job with protection.

PRICING: Apprx. $80 to $140 (no prescription). We don't have current prescription pricing - call them for information. The most popular styles are around $135 MSRP.

WHERE TO BUY: Click here for a dealer locator. Please shop at The Dry Eye Shop if you can.

 
additional daytime eyewear options

More wraparound eyewear

HARLEY DAVIDSON makes some styles with a removeable foam liner roughly comparable to the Wileys. High end of the price range, but they may suit some face shapes or preferences better.

SOLIS GOGGLES are another military applications outfit. They have frames similar to Wiley X but lower-end and a lot cheaper ($20-$40).

CLIC GOGGLES make glasses that have a magnetic closure in the middle (bridge) and have a foam lining. Again, for some hard-to-fit face shapes/preferences these may work better. (~$60).

MORE GOGGLES... There are definitely some other, cheaper models kicking around with some kind of foam lining. We can't keep up with them all but we are starting to build a larger directory at www.dryeyeyellowpages.com so please check that out for current details.

ABOUT SWIM GOGGLES: Some people with very severe dry eye use swim goggles for protection. There is an excellent guide to this kind of product over at www.dryeyepain.com (a site run by a sjogrens patient) so we're not going to re-create the wheel here - except to say that airtight goggles MUST BE USED WITH CAUTION AND WITH A DOCTOR'S SUPERVISION because you can harm your eyes by depriving them of oxygen too long. Please see this page and scroll about halfway down for the DryEyePain.com site information on swim goggles.

Acrylic shields and other stuff

Eagle Vision - Moist Eye Moisture Panel (if you click on that link, scroll all the way down to the bottom of the page) makes an acrylic shield that fits on regular eyeglasses; called the Moist Eye Moisture Panel. Talk to your optician about it. Caution - according to what we've heard from users, getting them fitted to eyeglasses is not always easy and can result in frame breakage. Some opticians might be able to make something similar. See DryEyePain.com for some suggestions.

More shields: There are some other options developed for different purposes, such as the "Eye Mates" and "Wing Mates". They tend to be much more obnoxious looking than the EagleVision product but might be helpful for some.

Home made: I once saw a pair of glasses frames to which a dry eye patient had fitted some weatherstripping. It was really nicely done, did not look conspicuous at all and seemed to be serving her pretty well.

Plain old plano glasses: People who don't normally wear any glasses need to know that ANY spectacles may be better than nothing, in terms of reducing airflow and evaporation. Finding a nice frame and getting a plano (no-prescription) lens fitted may be helpful, especially for those looking for appearance-friendly ways to incrementally improve their dry eye at work.

Stick-on bifocals

Have you been holding back on purchasing protective eyewear because of the high cost of getting them made in a bifocal prescription?

You may want to consider stick-on bifocals! Here is an example of one modestly priced vendor with a range of plus prescriptions from +1.25 to +3.00: SafetyGlassesUSA.

MICRO-ENVIRONMENT GLASSES

This is the first commercially available moisture chamber made to look like normal glasses and which will take most prescription. See seefit.net for details. Excellent product, costly but worth the investment for those with the long-term need.

 
best night eyewear selections

Tranquileyes is a unique, relatively new product that has quickly developed a strong and loyal following amongst dry eye patients. To our knowledge it is completely unique in its category, so it's pretty much the gold standard for night dry eye protection at this time. You can get more information on this site at this link, however, the best place for information is in the DryEyeShop itself as there's tons of detail, user Q&A and reviews.

WHAT IT IS : It's a soft opaque rubber goggle lined with removeable foam pads around the edges as well as a removeable foam moisture pad that you can moisten (optional) and insert before putting the goggle on. It's got a soft cloth head wrap to keep it in place.

HOW IT'S USED : You wear it at night for eye protection & to retain moisture. It's also handy for a midday rest or an eye break at the office, and for travel.

CARE: The moisture pads are to be washed and dried every day to prevent bacteria build-up, and must be replaced every 1-2 months.

RELATED PRODUCTS: Eye Eco also now makes a foamless shield called Onyix and

PRICING: The goggle alone costs $29. Foam replacements are 3/$15 or 6/$27. See DryEyeShop for details on other spares/accessories.

QUESTIONS? Call our patient hotline at 877-693-7939 (option 1) for more tranquileyes information.

WHERE TO BUY: Of course, we'd be grateful if you purchase from The Dry Eye Shop as that's how we keep our website and other patient services running. You can also purchase directly from the manufacturer at Eye Eco, and there are lots of other vendors on the internet.

USER COMMENTS: Click here for our night eyewear forum, where lots of users have shared their comments and experiences and there is quite a bit of Q&A about tranquileyes.

 
additional night eyewear options

NITE EYE "bubble" moisture chamber bandages

There is a little-known group of products by Medtronic for covering eyes at night. They are disposable (single-use) so they are quite expensive to use on an ongoing basis. However, some patients may prefer them and some people have facial shapes or features that make these a more comfortable option than tranquileyes.

They are basically a little bubble-bandage with an adhesive, bandage, and a plastic bubble, forming a moisture chamber over the eye. There are two:

Talk with your ophthalmologist if you think this would be a good option for you.

UPDATE 2/23/11 - Will be adding this to the dry eye shop shortly.

Sleep masks and other

As with daytime eyewear, anything blocking airflow to your eyes can be helpful!

  • Sleep masks are an excellent option for many people. We carry a wide range at the shop and no doubt you can find others locally. Some are made with a cavity over the eyes so that you get some benefit from retaining moisture and blocking air movement but also have nothing touching the lids.
  • Plastic wrap is simple, cheap and works. Cut a piece about the size of an eyeglasses case and pat down around your eyes (after applying a lubricant). Glad Press'n'Seal is used by many for this purpose, and some use it to line a sleep mask.

CAUTION: Whatever you use... make it's something you can keep very clean, and make sure it allows your eyes to breathe!

 

 
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