Tips for Treating Common Causes of Contact Lens Discomfort

Most people who trade their eyeglasses for contact lenses feel like they have discovered a miracle. However, many also experience eye irritation, itching, burning, or redness associated with wearing contact lenses. There are many common reasons for eye irritation and they can range from minor to serious. Here are some tips for treating common causes of contact lens discomfort and how to avoid problems before they start.

Key takeaways:

Contact lenses and taking care of them can be a challenging task. Contact lenses are not foolproof. They can wear out, become warped, or fit poorly. It is important to have an eye care professional properly fit you for your contact lenses and provide you with the right contact solution and instructions for cleaning and keeping the contact lenses safe.

Minor inconveniences can occur with sensitivity to solutions or foreign bodies getting under the contact lenses. Major problems can involve corneal ulcers or abrasions.

Tips to resolve eye discomfort

If you experience any eye discomfort while wearing contacts, here are some tips that can help you.

Follow your eye care professional’s instructions

Don’t try to skip steps in taking care of your contact lenses. This means carefully adhering to any break-in schedule that was recommended.

Handle the contact lenses with the utmost care by washing your hands well and drying them thoroughly before handling the contact lenses. Never use hand soaps that contain moisturizers, lotions, deodorants, or other potential irritants such as oils.

It is recommended that contact lenses are not left in your eyes longer than your eye care professional suggests. Leaving them in longer can expose you to eye irritation and discomfort.

Avoid water

Don’t use tap water to rinse your contact lenses if they fall on the counter. Always use the proper contact solution if you need to clean your contact lenses.

Never clean your contact lenses by putting them in your mouth. This practice is a setup for infection.

Don't try to make up your own contact lens solution with salt and tap water.

Never shower, bathe, or go swimming with your contact lenses. Water and contact lenses don’t mix. Soft lenses can absorb chemicals from water. Tap water can expose you to a potentially dangerous infection caused by a microorganism known as Acanthamoeba. Also, gas-permeable contact lenses may float out of your eyes when swimming.

Using daily, disposable contact lenses may lower your risk of eye infections and avoid the need for daily cleaning.

Replacing the contact lens storage case every three months may also help you avoid water contamination.

Avoid sleeping with your contact lenses

Falling asleep with contact lenses happens to most contact lens wearers at some point, but it is to be avoided. Most people wake up with some contact lens discomfort and eye redness that is temporary. The eye irritation subsides with removal and proper cleaning of the contact lenses in most cases.

However, in some situations, sleeping with contact lenses can cause serious eye infections or corneal damage, or even threaten your vision.

Avoid cosmetics around your eyes

Many of the oils and perfumes in cosmetics can irritate your eyes, even without contact lenses. These chemicals can cause your contact lenses to dry out and decrease your vision.

If you are going to use makeup while wearing contact lenses, it is advisable to use water-based products. Never use baby oil or Vaseline to remove your makeup.

Always throw out your old makeup if you develop an eye infection.

Make sure facial creams and moisturizers are kept at a safe distance from your eyes. Always put your makeup on after you put your contact lenses in your eyes.

If you use eye shadow, use the cream-based form. Avoid lash-building mascara, if possible, since the mascara can attach to the contact lenses and cause irritation.

Don’t be fooled by claims of makeup being hypoallergenic or fragrance-free. It can still cause eye irritation with wearing contact lenses.

General eye care tips

Give your eyes a rest. Take the contact lenses out and wear glasses to give your eyes a chance to get back to normal.

Try using artificial tears and flushing your eyes to alleviate discomfort from wearing contact lenses. Avoid rubbing your eyes or using prescription eye drops without the advice of an eye care professional. Sometimes you may need to check with your doctor if the contact lenses you are wearing are not the right fit for you. They may need to be substituted for another kind or style.

Warm or cold compresses may help soothe your eyes after wearing contact lenses.

Wear sunglasses with UV protection if you are wearing contact lenses.

Depending on what you are doing, try increasing or decreasing the light. Take breaks if you are reading.

This is the most difficult eye care tip of all: Try reducing your screen time. Put your phone down.

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