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6 Remedies for Contact Lens Discomfort

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Women experiencing discomfort while wearing contact lenses at optometrist office.

Many eyeglass-wearers choose contact lenses for their convenience, comfort, and versatility. 

There have been significant changes to contact lens technology over the last decade, and the thrill of skipping the fogged-up feeling and fingerprint cleanings from glasses is available for a wider variety of people. Who wouldn’t want to try going frame-less for a while? 

While contact lenses are the perfect opportunity for a lifestyle enhancement, there can be occasional setbacks to their comfort, like eye irritation and redness. 

Common Eye Irritations From Contact Lenses

Here are a few common problems experienced by contact lens wearers: 

  • Itchy eyes: Your eyes can be sensitive, and it’s essential to pay extra attention to itchiness when wearing contact lenses. Dust, pollen, allergies, and dryness can cause itchy eyes. 
  • Redness: If your contact lenses are expired, or if you’ve worn them for an extended period, it can result in red eyes. 
  • Sensitivity to light: If you feel sensitive to light (photophobia), it could result from ill-fitting lenses or wearing your lenses for an extended period. 
  • Blurry vision: Blurred vision could result from damaged, dirty, or out-of-place contact lenses, but it can also be an indicator of changing eye health or eye disease. Contact your optometrist if you experience blurred vision when wearing your contacts. 
  • Feels “wrong”: Our bodies can easily detect when something isn’t quite right with our vision. If you feel strange when wearing your contact lenses, take a deep breath, remove them, and check for inside-out or damaged lenses. 
  • General discomfort: If you typically feel uncomfortable in your contact lenses, they may be the wrong size, or ill-fitting. Book an appointment with your optometrist for help with your discomfort. 

Common Causes of Contact Lens Discomfort 

Here are a few common causes of contact lens discomfort. 

Dry eyes

Dry eyes are a common complaint of contact lens wearers. Dryness can be exacerbated by:

Allergies

Ah, the great outdoors. We love to be outside, but allergy season can really throw a wrench into contact lens wearing. Remember that seasonal allergies can make your contact lenses less comfortable, but it’s also possible to have an allergic reaction to contact lenses.

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.

Health Conditions 

Contact lens discomfort may result from an issue with your eye health, rather than your lenses. If you’re experiencing irritation and cannot determine the cause, it could be resulting from an eye condition, like conjunctivitis

Patients should discontinue wearing their contact lenses until they receive proper diagnosis and treatment for any suspected eye conditions. 

Most contact lens wearers will experience moments of discomfort, but if you are constantly uncomfortable in your lenses, reach out to your optometrist for a contact lens exam

EyeZone’s Top 6

If you experience discomfort when wearing your contact lenses, consult with your optometrist to determine which of the following remedies will work best for your vision. 

Here are 6 suggested remedies for contact lens discomfort: 

  1. Good hygiene:  You probably guessed that hygiene would be number 1, but it’s incredibly vital to your comfort. We can’t skip over this one! 

You may experience irritation from exposure to cosmetics and household products, and it’s crucial to clean your contact lenses at the end of the day to remove build-up on your lenses.  

Remember to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water before handling your lenses to avoid transferring bacteria to your lenses.

Women putting in eye drops in her eyes due to contact lens discomfort
  1. Eye drops: Certain brands of eye drops can help relieve occasional dryness from contact lens use. At EyeZone Nevada, we recommend reaching out to your optometrist for an appropriate brand of eye drops for your contact lens type.

Remember that not all brands of eye drops are approved for use with contact lenses.

  1. Supplements: Adequate tear production can be an issue when wearing contact lenses, and sometimes our eyes don’t produce the right balance of nutrients to keep everything hydrated. 

Studies have shown that omega-3 acids can help improve tear production and alleviate the irritating symptoms of dry eye disease. Contact your optometrist to see if omega-3 supplements are suitable for your vision. 

  1. The right solution: Your optometrist will be able to recommend a contact lens solution that’s suitable for your eye type and type of lenses. 

Using solutions that aren’t specifically for your type of contacts can affect the quality of your lenses, thereby affecting your comfort. 

  1. Different lenses: We’ve said this before, but everyone’s vision is unique, and there’s no one-size-fits-all contact lens for every eye type. 

If you are experiencing constant discomfort with your lenses, your optometrist may be able to recommend an alternate type of lens or wearing schedule.

  1. Orthokeratology: If you experience constant irritation with contact lenses despite trying other remedies, but are dedicated to the idea of a frame-less lifestyle, speak to your optometrist about ortho-k lenses

These specialized lenses are personalized to fit the wearer and worn overnight, helping reshape the cornea and temporarily improve vision. This reshaping redirects light focus on the retina, ensuring it lands at the right angle

Ortho-k lenses provide clear vision to the wearer during the day without glasses or contact lenses. Although visual corrections are only temporary, patients can maintain them with regular use of ortho-k lenses. 

Don’t Be Shy 

At EyeZone Nevada, we want our patients to experience optimal eye health, and maximum comfort in their contact lenses. If you have questions or would like further information, reach out to our knowledgeable and friendly team. We’d love to hear from you! 

Written by Daniel Rowan

Reno optometrist, Dr. Daniel Rowan, was raised in Western Canada and attended Norwich University in Vermont on a hockey scholarship. After obtaining a Bachelor of Science degree in both biology and sports medicine, he received his Doctor of Optometry (OD) degree from the New York College of Optometry in 2001. He performed rotations in a Queens VA hospital, specializing in glaucoma care, and an outpatient eye clinic in the Bronx. Immediately after graduating, he moved to Nevada and is now considered a top Reno optometrist. He is a member of the American Optometric Association and is board-certified by the National Board of Examiners in Optometry for the treatment and management of ocular diseases.
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