Are Your Contact Lenses Uncomfortable?

Learn what causes contact lenses to become uncomfortable and how you can deal with the discomfort.

Wearing contact lenses should never be uncomfortable and wearing a good pair should lead wearers to not feeling anything in their eyes at all. There are several reasons why wearers feel discomfort, and there are also things they can do, or steps they can take to make contact lenses more comfortable.

Reasons for Discomfort

Everybody is different when it comes to the types of lenses, allergies, cleaning and disinfecting habits, wear-time, and the fit of the lens, and there are numerous different reasons why your contact lenses are uncomfortable.

Fit: This is the most common reason for discomfort among lens wearers. If the diameter of the lens and the base curve are incorrect in size, whether it’s too large or too small, it can be very uncomfortable. When your lens fits properly, the lens should cover the entire cornea and it should be moving slightly with each blink. If it’s moving a lot, wearers will experience dryness, irritation, itchiness, etc. If it’s moving too little, it can become irritated and red with blurry vision. Keep in mind most people should be able to wear contact lenses for up to 12 hours comfortably if it fits right.

Allergies: Allergies are a major reason why people experience discomfort while wearing contacts. Many either change their wearing habits or abandon them all together until the allergy season has passed. Approximately two million allergy sufferers have “eye allergies” as their primary allergy. Experts recommend daily disposals as the best alternative for sufferers during this period.

Type of Lens: If you’re wearing Rigid Gas Permeable, or RGP or GP lenses, it can be very uncomfortable period. It takes an extended period of time for wearers to adjust to the thickness of the material. Soft lenses should be considered if you’re not willing to wait, and there are specific soft lenses such as SynergEyes hybrid contact lenses that have the rigid lens but offer a soft lens comfort. There is a newer generation of soft disposable contact lenses like the Acuvue Oasys, which is made of material that allows more oxygen to flow to the eyes and generally feel more comfortable. Different brands work better with certain individuals so trial and error might be needed.

Cleaning Solutions: Solutions are meant for cleaning and disinfecting your lenses, however some solutions can cause discomfort to your eyes. Though solutions do remove most build-ups, they don’t always remove all build-ups like proteins. It’s good to replace your lenses more often if there is significant build ups, or talking with your eye care professional about specific brands you could use.

Wear-time: The longer you wear your lenses without taking them out to sleep or clean, the more discomfort you will feel. Some lenses are approved to be worn for days or weeks at a time, however this can eventually lead to discomfort or pain. See your eye care specialist if you expereince these symptoms.

How to Deal With Discomfort

Unfortunately many people feel discomfort when wearing contacts. However, there are many steps they can do to help relieve the irritation, as well as prevent future discomfort from coming back. Here is a list of things you can consider if your contact lenses are uncomfortable.

Cleaning: Proper cleaning and disinfecting methods should be done regularly. Use your solutions to rub your lenses with clean fingers to remove dirt, debris and build-up. Allow your contact lenses to stay in the solution for the set amount of time required by the specific solution before putting them back in your eyes.

Reduce Wear-time: Reducing the amount of time your lenses spend in your eyes everyday can help significantly when you’re experiencing discomfort. Switch from your lenses to eye glasses periodically to give your eyes a rest or break. While wearing your eye glasses, soak your lenses in solution in their case.

Eye Drops: Contact lenses and dry eyes often go hand in hand and many people carry eye drops as a solution. Artificial tears are great for relieving dryness. It’s important you don’t go to the store and choose just any brand though but generally going with the same brand as the contact lenses solution often works out well. Consult with your doctor about specific brands of eye drops you can use, as certain brands are not compatible with certain lenses and can lead to discolored or ruined lenses.

New Pair: Go out and get a new pair of contact lenses. If they’re dirty, clean them. If they’re torn, dispose of them. If they’re old, get a new pair. That’s one of the good things about daily disposals, everyday you start with a fresh pair of lenses. Make sure not to wear contact lenses longer than the period set each type.

Wear Properly: Make sure you’re not putting your lenses on inside out. Place the lens on your finger so a cup is formed, and hold the lens up so you’re looking at its side. If it forms a “U” with the top edges flared out, it’s inside out. If the lens forms just a “U,” it’s in the correct position. Improperly wearing contact lenses will cause an uncomfortable feeling and could affect overall vision.

Less Eye Make-up: Wearing an excessive amount of make-up around your eyes, especially when you wear contacts can be very uncomfortable. Try avoiding so much make-up and reduce the amount of debris that’s likely to make it’s way in, around and under your lens, this will help to reduce discomfort a lot.

Go To Doctor: If you’ve tried what’s recommended above with no luck, maybe you should consider making an appointment with your eye care professional for a thorough eye exam. You could be in need of a new prescription, fitting, brand of lens, or you could have a medical condition that’s preventing you from feeling any comfort at all.

This article was last updated on 01/2013