What do I do when my contact lenses hurt?

What to do when your contact lenses hurt

Your eyes could be hurting from your contact lenses for a couple of reasons; however, it is most likely down to them not being the right fit for your eyes. It’s advisable to have a copy of your prescription with you when you order your lenses, just so you know you’re ordering exactly what you need. Eye pain from contact lens wear can also be a concern as it may be an indication of an eye infection.

 Lenses are made from lots of different materials, some of which are designed for different wearing schedules. If you’re wearing contact lenses overnight but you haven’t been prescribed extended wear lenses by your optician, this could be the reason your eyes are in pain.

 

What should I do if my contact lenses are hurting my eyes?

  1. First thing’s first, you should wash and dry your hands thoroughly with a lint-free towel before carefully removing your contact lens.
  2. Then, you’ll need to use some fresh contact lens solution and gently rub your contact lens clean. This should remove any potential irritants from the lens surface. Doing this as soon as you feel some pain from the lens is important to avoid irritating or aggravating your eye.
  3. After cleaning and reapplying the lens, if your eye is still hurting, you should take it out again for a closer inspection. Sometimes contacts can split, causing irritation to the eye. If this is the case, you should immediately throw away the lens and apply a new one. That’s why you should always carry a spare set, especially if you’re a daily disposable contact lens wearer.
  4. Having thrown away the damaged lenses, and with a fresh pair in your eyes, the pain should go away very quickly. However, if your eyes are still hurting, it’s advisable to pay a visit to your optician or GP. They may check to see if the lenses are suitable for your eyes or they may suggest an eye exam to see if there are any more serious factors at play. And, in instances like these, you should refrain from wearing contact lenses to avoid worsening your eyes’ condition.

 

Is it normal for contacts to hurt at first?

It is normal for new contact lens wearers to feel the edges of the lenses the first few times when putting them in, however, they should not cause pain. Any minor irritations should disappear within 15 minutes as your eyes adjust and accept the lenses.

 

Why do my contact lenses hurt?

There are various factors that can cause your contact lenses to hurt which is why we recommend you see your optometrist or ophthalmologist should you experience pain or discomfort. An eye care professional will be able to accurately determine the underlying problem.

Your contact lenses could hurt as a result of lens specific or environmental causes.

Lens-specific causes may be any of the following:

  • The wettability of the lens material- the higher the wettability of the contact lens material, the less likely it is to cause pain and discomfort.
  • The lens design- The design of the lens can also affect the discomfort that some lens wearers experience. Silicone hydrogel lenses have become increasingly popular due to their breathable design which allows a higher amount of oxygen to permeate the eye, enabling them to stay better hydrated.
  • The lens fit- The size and shape of your eyes are unique to you and therefore your contact lenses should be too. Poor fit can cause serious damage to your eye health such as corneal abrasion.
  • The wearing schedule-There are a range of different contact lenses, from daily disposable lenses to extended wear contact lenses, which have been designed to be worn safely overnight. You should follow the wearing schedule recommended to you by your optician.
  • Lens care solutions-Using the wrong contact lens solution can cause your contact lenses to hurt. Different lens solutions have been designed for different purposes. Making sure that you use the correct solution for the intended purpose is very important.

 

Environmental causes may be:

  • Age- aging can cause the tendency toward meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD) to increase. This occurs when oil excreted by the meibomian glands in the upper and lower eyelids becomes plugged. When this happens, a lack of lubrication is provided on the eye which makes it harder to tolerate contact lenses.
  • The use of medications-silicone hydrogel and rigid gas permeable contact lenses interact differently with medication and can cause adverse effects based on various factors. It is therefore important to consider a contact lens wearers medical history when prescribing contact lenses.
  • Tear film stability-this is strongly linked with comfort and contact lens wear. The stability of tear film helps to prevent evaporation from the ocular surface. If one has a low tear film stability, they are more likely to experience discomfort from dry eyes when wearing contact lenses.
  • Heating and air conditioning
  • Excessive digital screen use
  • Adverse weather conditions

 

The last three of these environmental factors can cause your lenses to lose moisture, and as a result begin to dry out. This can eventually lead to dry eye, which can be painful and uncomfortable on your eyes. 

If this is the case you should treat your eyes with eye drops recommended by your optician. Our comfi Drops are a premium product designed specifically to treat dry eyes and provide long lasting relief.

There’s also the possibility that your lens has picked up some dirt, protein build-up or an allergen and needs to be cleaned. Our multi-purpose solutions offer a wide range of top-quality products for storing, cleaning, disinfecting and rinsing your lenses.

 

Why are my contacts suddenly bothering me?

Years of successful wear does not mean that you cannot suddenly encounter problems with your contact lenses. Contact lenses are a foreign body so it is only natural that your immune system might see these corrective lenses as intruders and as a result, increase its production of white blood cells and antibodies. This can make it uncomfortable to wear contact lenses. If this happens, you'll notice some irritation which indicates that you have developed an allergy to contact lenses.

Quick links:

Do I need an eye test?

A guide to eye infections

Top tips for contact lenses and allergies

 

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