Do your eyes itch or burn when wearing contact lenses? There are several reasons why you may be experiencing contact lens discomfort. Discover the possible causes behind the problem and see what you can do to relieve your discomfort.
WHAT CAUSES CONTACT LENS DISCOMFORT?
Some of the top causes of uncomfortable contacts are:
- Dry eyes
Dry eye syndrome is a common condition that arises when your tears can’t keep your eyes sufficiently lubricated due to an imbalance in the tear film. Certain diseases, medications and environmental factors, like high levels of dryness and wind, can cause or contribute to red, itchy or irritated eyes, especially when wearing contacts.
Allergens are typically harmless substances that induce an allergic response in certain people. Pollen, mold, dust and pet dander are some of the most common airborne allergens that trigger eye allergies. Cosmetics and certain eye drops, such as artificial tears with preservatives, can also induce eye allergies, which can make contact lens wear uncomfortable.
- Corneal irregularities
The cornea at the front of the eye may be irregularly shaped due to astigmatism, keratoconus, eye surgeries (i.e. LASIK or cataract surgery), eye injuries or burns, scarring, corneal ulcers and/or severe dry eye. Irregular corneas often prevent traditional contact lenses from fitting correctly and comfortably.
- Ill-Fitting Lenses
Everyone is unique, and their eyes are too! That’s precisely why getting a contact lens exam and fitting from your optometrist is an essential step when considering contact lenses.
There is no universal contact lens for everyone’s eye shape, and properly-fitted lenses are the key to everyday comfort.
- Dirty Lenses
Dirty contact lenses can result in irritation and possibly infection. Keep your contacts as clean as possible to avoid getting debris stuck to the lenses. Remember to wash your hands before putting on your contacts, and replace your contact solution regularly.
SYMPTOMS OF CONTACT LENS DISCOMFORT
– Burning, itchy, stinging eyes
– Sensation of something being stuck is in the eye
– Excessive watering or tearing of the eyes
– Unusual eye secretions
– Redness of the eyes
– Reduced sharpness of vision
– Blurred vision, rainbows, or halos around objects
– Sensitivity to light.
HOW TO RELIEVE CONTACT LENS DISCOMFORT
- Try Different Contact Lenses
Nowadays, there are many types of contact lenses in the market, including specialty contacts for dry eyes and astigmatism. Meet with an Optometrist for a personalized eye exam for contacts.
With the variety of contact lens brands available, switching to a different contact lens may be the simplest answer if you’re experiencing discomfort that isn’t connected to improper fitting or issues with tear production. If you’re existing lenses fit well but still irritate and dry out your eyes, speak to your Optometrist, who will suggest for you about trying a different design or brand of contact lenses, or changing your lens-wearing schedule.
- Artificial Tears or Eye Drops
Artificial tears or eye drops are a common way to temporarily relieve contact lens discomfort. However, it’s important to keep in mind that unless prescribed by an eye doctor, they may not be treating the root of the problem
Moreover, certain eye drops are incompatible with contact lenses, and may damage your contacts or harm your eyes. We also recommend staying away from products that claim to remove redness from your eyes, which temporarily reduce the size of blood vessels to lessen redness, but do not address the underlying cause of the condition, and can actually worsen it over time.
- Take Good Care of Your Lenses
Inadequate contact lens care leaves residue on your lenses, which can cause discomfort, harmful eye infections and inflammation.
IMPORTANT CONTACT LENS HYGIENE GUIDELINES TO FOLLOW:
- Before handling your contact lenses, thoroughly wash and dry your hands.
- Remove your lenses before showering, bathing or swimming to prevent infection.
- Do not sleep with your contact lenses (unless they are approved for sleeping).
- Replace your contact lenses according to the manufacturer’s instructions (e.g., don’t reuse daily wear lenses).
- Regularly clean your contact lens case and ask your eye doctor when to replace it.
- Only use a contact lens solution that is appropriate for your lenses.
- Never reuse or mix contact lens solutions.
- Schedule regular appointments with your eye doctor.