Why your eyes burn when you put in contact lenses

Medically reviewed by Tina Patel, Contact Lens Optician at Feel Good Contacts.

Wearing contact lenses is a convenient way to correct your vision but for some, they can also cause a burning sensation. This might happen due to various factors, like improper lens care or underlying eye conditions. In this article, you can discover valuable insights on why your eyes feel a burning sensation when applying your contact lenses.

Why do my eyes burn while wearing contact lenses?

There are certain reasons why your eyes may feel uncomfortable/have a burning sensation while wearing contact lenses. We have listed some of them here:

1. You have dry eyes

One common cause of feeling a burning or stinging sensation in your eyes while wearing contact lenses could be linked to dry eyes. Various factors such as environmental conditions (low humidity), prolonged screen time or certain medications can reduce tear production, leading to dry eyes.

Solutions such as Sensitive Eyes Plus Saline Solution, Biotrue Multi-Purpose Solution and Ote Fine Contact Lens Solution are specially designed for dry and sensitive eyes. Those wearing reusable contact lenses should always seek guidance from their optician regarding which solution is most suitable as this can vary from person to person.

Do you have dry eyes? Participate in this dry eye quiz to know more.

2. Your lenses aren’t the correct fit

Contact lenses that don’t fit your eyes properly can cause discomfort. If the lenses are too tight or too loose, they may cause friction against your eyes and could lead to a burning sensation. Ensure that your lenses are prescribed by a registered eye care professional who can recommend the most suitable lenses based on your eye measurements and specific visual needs.

3. You may have eye allergies

Contact lenses can attract dust, bacteria, or pollen on the lens surface, causing redness, itchy eyes, or a burning sensation. Some people are allergic to certain chemicals or preservatives present in some contact lens solutions, which may cause a reaction and lead to a burning sensation in your eyes.

We recommend consulting your optician, who will help you choose the best solution to clean and disinfect your contact lenses according to your eye health needs and lens type.

4. Do not use your lenses beyond the recommended time

Wearing contact lenses for extended periods, especially beyond the recommended daily or monthly usage, can lead to increased risk of infection and eye strain. Your eyes require enough oxygen to maintain optimal eye health and comfort. Using your lenses longer can impede this process, possibly causing burning sensations. Adhere strictly to the wearing schedule of the product or as prescribed by your eye care practitioner.

5. You may be suffering from poor eye health

If you have eye conditions such as conjunctivitis or corneal abrasions, the burning sensation can intensify while wearing contact lenses. To prevent symptoms from worsening further, you must not wear contact lenses while suffering from an eye infection.

How do I stop my eyes from burning from contacts?

We recommend that you consult with your optician, who will prescribe you the right contact lens according to your needs.

If you suffer from eye allergies, you may need to consider daily disposables lenses, adjust the lens wear time, or avoid wearing them in certain environmental conditions. Occasionally, contact lenses can help those with allergies as they provide a barrier. If you are sensitive to contact lens solutions, consult your optician, who might suggest a preservative-free or low preservative contact lens solution.

What eye drops can I use while wearing contacts?

There are many eye drops specially designed to be used while wearing contacts:

  • Most rewetting drops are safe to use with soft contact lenses and can help keep your eyes hydrated
  • Artificial tears are great for dry eyes. Our Blink Intensive Tears bottle is a perfect choice to hydrate your eyes for a long period of time
  • Some allergy eyes drops are safe to use whilst wearing lenses and without lenses in. Our Optase Allergy Eye Drops are perfect for lens wearers with hectic schedules

However, it’s always best to consult your optician before using any eye drops just to be sure.

Why does my eye hurt after I take out my contacts?

Your eyes may hurt after removing contact lenses due to several reasons. You may suffer from serious eye conditions such as corneal abrasions, bacterial infections or corneal ulcers that can hurt your eyes while wearing contact lenses.

If you feel a burning sensation while removing contact lenses, you must consult your eye care specialist to prevent the risk of further damage or permanent vision loss.

Can you sleep with contacts in?

Sleeping with your contacts in is not recommended. In fact, it can endanger your eye health and even your vision. There is an increased risk of developing serious eye infections which could have lasting effects.

There are some extended wear lenses which have been approved for overnight wear, however you must consult with your optician to check suitability, as these lenses require additional checks.

If you suffer with a burning or stinging sensation when applying your lenses, look through our wide range of dry eye treatments, which could help. If your symptoms persist, you must seek advice from your optician who can provide tailored advice based on your individual needs.

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