Are Your Contact Lenses Uncomfortable? What to do About it

As with anything you wear for extended periods of time, it’s possible that you’ll experience discomfort while wearing your contacts. It’s important to know what to do in order to prevent a minor discomfort from becoming a major problem.

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Table of Contents

Identifying Contact Lens Discomfort

It is not all that uncommon for people to feel discomfort, at times, while wearing their contact lenses.
You can easily tell if the lenses are what is causing the problem if, when you remove them, the discomfort subsides.
It is also important to note that occasional episodes of discomfort while wearing your lenses does not mean that you need to stop wearing contact lenses altogether. In most cases, a simple change to your lenses, lens care products, or daily habits will resolve the issue and allow you to wear your contact lenses in comfort.

What Discomfort Might I Experience?

There is a wide range of contact lens-related discomfort that you might experience. They include eye irritation or pain, the feeling of something in your eye, watery eyes, dry eyes, redness, unusual secretions, reduced vision (including reduced sharpness or blurriness), and light sensitivity. You can also experience mild discomfort with the lenses themselves.

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What Causes This Discomfort?

Many cases of discomfort associated with contact lenses are due to improper care and management of your lenses. If they aren’t properly maintained, or are worn for longer than recommended, they can irritate your eyes.
Poor fit can also lead to discomfort. Be sure to get lenses of the right size and shape for your eyes, and never use someone else’s contacts.
Dry eyes are more likely to occur while wearing contact lenses if you already produce less tears than normal. This can be due to an underlying medical condition, or due to lifestyle choices (such as smoking, heavy computer use, heavy caffeine use, among others.)
Environmental conditions can lead to discomfort. Specifically, if you are sensitive to airborne allergens. They can stick to lenses and cause irritation for the wearer.
Finally, other underlying health conditions can play a role in eye discomfort, unrelated to the contacts themselves. Especially if a problem persists for longer than a day or so, consider seeing your doctor, and remove your contact lenses until you know what the issue is.

Acclimation Period

Especially if one is new to wearing contact lenses, they might experience slight discomfort at first as they get used to wearing them. Generally speaking, soft lenses require much less time to get used to than rigid lenses. If it is taking more time than expected to get used to wearing them, consult your eye care professional.

What to do About Contact Lens Discomfort?

What to do About Contact Lens Discomfort?

  • If you determine that your lenses are the source of the discomfort, the first thing to do is examine your lenses. If a lens is damaged in any way, do not return it to your eye; place it in its storage case and contact your eye care professional.
  • If you see a foreign object, such as dirt or an eyelash, on the lens, but the lens itself appears not to be damaged, thoroughly clean, rinse, and disinfect the lens and reinsert it. If the problem resumes upon reinsertion, remove the lens and contact your eye care professional.
  • If your eye is scratched, whether by the contact lens itself or by something else, do not put your contact lens back in. Even if the lens itself is fine, it can aggravate the problem. In most cases your eye will heal quickly on its own, but it would still be advised to consult with your eye doctor.
  • If you are at all unsure about what the cause of your discomfort is, or what can be done to correct it, see our eye doctor immediately. Waiting too long, especially if your eye is infected, will only make the problem worse and more difficult to fix.
How Can I Avoid Contact Lens Discomfort?

How Can I Avoid Contact Lens Discomfort?

The best way to avoid most contact lens-related discomfort is to carefully follow both the recommendations of your eye care professional and the contact lens manufacturer. Additionally, make sure that your lenses are properly fit, and that if you have any allergies to materials commonly used in contact lenses of their cleaning solutions, you purchase lenses and a cleaning solution that will not irritate your eyes.

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Do Not Ignore Discomfort

Do Not Ignore Discomfort

Apart from the initial short acclimation period, you should have no discomfort while wearing your contact lenses, and especially no persistent discomfort. It should be like your contact lenses aren’t even there. Make sure to properly deal with any discomfort, so that you don’t risk a bigger problem arising later on. 

If you are experiencing any discomfort, be sure to mention it during your annual eye exam. Different lens types are better suited for different people, and our doctor can recommend a solution.

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Common Questions

In short, a good adjustment will typically hold your glasses in place. What this means is the angle of the temple, the part that curves behind the ear, is just right to hold your glasses comfortably. The nose pads are adjusted and angled correctly to compliment the temple adjustment. On occasion, a little more handiwork is needed but generally those two adjustments work for most people.
Typically soft daily disposable contacts with a high oxygen permeability are the most comfortable for patients. The specific contact lens depends on the curvature of the patient’s eyes. Different contact lens brands have different parameters and optics, so a proper contact lens evaluation by your eye doctor has to be performed to see which lens fits the best on the patient’s eye to provide the most comfortable vision.
Over the years there have been a lot of advancements in the technology of how contact lenses are made. Contacts are now made of material that provide higher oxygen permeability. There has also been an increase in the contact lens parameters including higher minus and plus powers as well as contacts with astigmatism, and multifocals for patients with presbyopia. Thus, there may now be a new option available for you, depending on the reasons why you weren't previously a candidate for contact lenses. Be sure to visit your eye doctor to have a proper contact lens evaluation and discuss which lens options are best for you.
Are glasses better for my eyes than contact lenses? Answer: This isn't really a yes or no question. Some people fare better with glasses, while some with contacts, while others wear both equally. It depends on the patients needs and which option is the best way to address them. Different strokes for different folks as they say. Each one comes with its list of pros and cons but ultimately this should decided with your physician.
Depends on the type of contact lens you’re wearing. If you’re wearing a hard Ortho-K specialty lens, then this lens is actually designed to be worn when you sleep. Additionally, if you specifically have an extended wear lens, then these lenses can also be worn while you sleep. However, in most cases contacts CANNOT be worn while you sleep, this is because it can cause various contact lens associated conditions. For instance, it can cause your eyes to dry out, as well as cause new blood vessels to start growing on your eyes because they are deprived of oxygen, resulting in irritation, discomfort and blurry vision. Be sure to talk to your eye doctor about proper contact lens hygiene.
You can apply artificial tears to help alleviate discomfort. Also, if you feel like your lenses aren’t comfortable at the end of the day you can try to reduce the number of hours you wear your lenses, or talk to your eye doctor to possibly switch you into a different contact lens brand that allows for more oxygen permeability. Also, if you feel like your eyes are dry talk to your eye doctor to see what is the best dry eye treatment for you.
You may have dry eyes which may cause your eyes to feel irritated when you wear your contacts. It’s important to treat the underlying cause of dry eyes to help relieve your symptoms. You may also be abusing your contact lenses, meaning you wear them longer than the contact lens wear schedule or you sleep in your lenses, and this improper contact lens hygiene may be the cause. Additionally, you may be wearing contacts that don’t have a high oxygen permeability so your eye doctor may need to switch you out into a different brand and/or a different contact lens modality. It’s important to have a proper contact lens evaluation by your eye doctor to determine the cause of your irritated eyes and then determine the best course of treatment for you.
NO! This can cause a lot of contact lens associated infections and problems such as eye infections, irritation and can even lead to permanent vision loss. It’s important to not expose the contacts to any type of water, including swimming pools, lakes, oceans, or tap water from showering. There can be various bugs, bacteria, microbes and viruses found in the water and if they are exposed to your contact lens they can latch onto the contact and cause an eye infection, inflammation, irritation, potential vision loss, and possibly require for you to get a corneal transplant. It’s important to remove your contacts before entering any bodies of water. Wear prescription swimming goggles instead.
This may mean that you’re approaching presbyopia where now you also need a reading prescription to see material clearly up close. There are several different options to help correct this. You may switch in a multifocal contact lens, which is a contact lens that has two different powers within one lens to allow you to see both at distance and near. You may also try out a monovision modality where one eye is corrected for distance and the other eye is corrected for near. You may also keep your regular contacts for distance and just wear reading glasses over your contact when you need to read things up close. Talk to your eye doctor to see which modality is best for you.
Are Your Contact Lenses Uncomfortable? What to do About it
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While you may experience some discomfort while wearing your contact lenses, such problems can be dealt with quickly, if you recognize the signs and know what to do. Our doctors are also always happy to help if a problem arises.

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