This includes taking care to replace your contact lenses when recommended by your eye care professional. Doing this will ensure healthy eyes and a comfortable wear with contact lenses.
Eye irritation from contacts can be easily avoided with the correct fitting and aftercare. We detail the best remedies for eye irritation from contacts and to keep your eyes feeling fresh during wear.
Common contact lens problems
Problems that can occur when wearing contact lenses are varied and can be the result of many factors. Contact lens wearers might encounter the following problems:
- Eye pain such as stinging, burning or itching
- A strange feeling of something being in the eye
- Tearing of the eyes
- Red eyes
- Blurry vision
- Dry eyes
- Light sensitivity
- Reduced comfort from the moment when the lens was first put in
- Poor visual acuity
If you notice any of the above problems, you should wash your hands thoroughly and remove your contact lenses immediately to check to see whether the lens is damaged. If there is any sign of damage, you should contact an eye care professional right away and not put the lens back in your eye.
If there is no sign of damage, you should take care to clean, rinse and disinfect your lens thoroughly before reinserting them.
Should there still be symptoms of discomfort after removing the lens or reinserting a new one, you should see an eye care professional right away. This could be an indicator of a more serious eye condition such as a corneal ulcer.
Do contact lenses hurt?
Contact lenses shouldn't hurt, especially with advancements in technology, ensuring thinner lenses with a higher water content and optimal comfort.
Soft contact lenses including those made from a silicone hydrogel material are weightless in the eye due to the soft and flexible nature of the plastic. Silicone hydrogel contact lenses are especially popular as they allow more oxygen to pass through and lock in water more easily. This helps your eyes stay healthy and hydrated.
Causes for contact lens irritation
Contact lens irritation can occur for a variety of reasons. It's important to address any problems before they become worse. Here are some causes and remedies to contact lens irritation:
Poor care or use of lenses
Failing to take adequate care of your contact lenses can lead to irritation. This is why we emphasise the importance of maintaining hygiene when wearing contact lenses and following a thorough cleansing routine.
Everybody's eyes are unique. Therefore the correct measures should be taken to ensure that your contact lenses are unique to your eyes and fit properly.
In a contact lens fitting appointment, an eyecare professional will measure your eyes carefully to ensure that your lenses fit properly. However, in some cases the fit of your lenses can be slightly off, resulting in discomfort. If this is the case, you should visit your eye care professional so that they can make sure your lenses fit correctly. This is important in order to avoid more serious damage such as corneal abrasion.
Environmental allergens that can affect contact lenses
You may experience irritation if you are in an environment where there is a lot of dust, dander or pollen in the atmosphere. These allergens can adhere to your lenses and cause redness, dry eyes, watering or swelling. You should make sure you frequently clean your lenses, and should these problems persist, it may be best to speak to your optician about switching to daily disposable lenses. Seasonal allergies are treated with eye drops; however, it is best to speak to an eye care professional before using these.
Wearing contacted lenses for longer than recommended
You should always follow the wearing schedule prescribed to you by your optician. Wearing contact lenses for too long can lead to severe eye infections, causing irritation and discomfort. Never sleep in your contact lenses unless they are extended wear contact lenses and have been recommended to you by an eye care professional. You should also check the expiration date on your contact lenses to avoid the risk of a bacterial infection.
Contact lens irritation in one eye
If you experience contact lens irritation in one eye, this could be due to poor fit. If one eye is fitted incorrectly, you may experience slight pain, fluctuations in your vision, irritation and discomfort. Visit your eye care professional immediately as they will be able to confirm whether this is the case and if it is, fit you with the right contact lens.
If, however, your contact lenses fit well and irritation persists, your eye care professional may prescribe you different lenses or a different wearing schedule.
Best eye drops for contact lens wearers
Eye drops are great for those suffering from dry eyes as they act as artificial tears and can add more moisture to your lenses and relieve your eyes from irritation and discomfort. Eye drops are also useful for treating allergies.
It is always best to check with your optician before you use eye drops with contact lenses as not all are suitable for use with contacts. At Feel Good Contacts, most of our eye drops are compatible for use with all soft contact lenses and silicone hydrogel lenses. Nevertheless, we would always recommend you check the packaging before using eye drops with your contact lenses.
Our comfi Soothe Drops are one of the best eye drops for contact lens wearers with dry eyes and will provide you with an instant soothing relief.
Blink is also a popular brand of eye drops and caters for a range of needs to ensure that your contact lenses are comfortable to wear all day long. You can use Blink Contacts Bottle to minimise the risk of dry eyes and irritation, awaken tired eyes with Blink Refreshing Hydrating Eye Mist or combat blurry vision with Blink Intensive Tears Bottle. If you wish to give your lenses an effective clean, we would recommend using Blink-N-Clean Eye Drops.
Other popular choices of eye drops for contact lens wearers include; Systane Hydration, Clintas Soothe Multi eye drops and Artelac Rebalance by Bausch & Lomb.
Why does my contact lens feel uncomfortable?
Other factors that may be affecting the comfort of your contact lens is the water content.
Do contacts feel weird at first?
Wearing contact lenses for the first time shouldn't be a painful experience, however, you'll be aware that there is something in your eye and it may take some time for your eyes to adjust. As your eyes become accustomed to the feeling, you'll forget you're even wearing lenses.
Contact lenses have come a long way from when they were first invented, with soft lenses and silicone hydrogel lenses making them painless to wear.
If you're a first-time wearer and feel that your contact lenses don't feel right, you should remove the lenses and inspect them for damage. If all appears okay, clean, rinse and disinfect them thoroughly with contact lens solution before reinserting them.
Never reinsert a damaged lens and if eye irritation from your lenses continues, contact your eye care professional straight away.
Who cannot wear contact lenses?
The thought of wearing contact lenses instead of glasses is appealing, however, not everybody is a good candidate for contact lenses. There are a range of factors which might determine whether or not contact lenses are for you. Here are some factors which may prevent you from being able to wear contact lenses:
Dry Eye Syndrome
Dry eye syndrome is a major factor affecting the level of comfort experienced with lens wear. Tears are essential for keeping your eyes moist and lubricated. If your tear film is not producing enough tears, your contact lens will become dry, causing discomfort and a wealth of other problems including tired eyes after just a few hours of wear.
While there are many treatments for dry eye syndrome, those who suffer from severe dry eye syndrome should avoid wearing contact lenses as this can cause corneal scarring and eye infections.
Blepharitis is an inflammation of the eyelids, which can also affect your ability to wear contact lenses. This condition can occur at any age but tends to affect people with oily skin. It is best to treat blepharitis before attempting to wear contact lenses. Using a warm compress such as our Thera-Pearl Eye Mask is recommended and is a therapeutic spa-like treatment guaranteed to soothe even the most sensitive of eyes.
Those who suffer from severe allergies are not good candidates for contact lenses as they are at a higher risk of problems which can cause discomfort and even scarring of the cornea. Vernal and atopic keratoconjunctivitis are examples of severe allergies that can affect the cornea.