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How to Deal with Contact Lens Discomfort

Do your eyes itch or burn when wearing contact lenses? There are several reasons why you may be experiencing contact lens discomfort. Discover the possible causes behind the problem and see what you can do to relieve your discomfort.

What Causes Contact Lens Discomfort?

Some of the top causes of uncomfortable contacts are:

Dry eyes

Dry eye syndrome is a common condition that arises when your tears can’t keep your eyes sufficiently lubricated due to an imbalance in the tear film. Certain diseases, medications and environmental factors, like high levels of dryness and wind, can cause or contribute to red, itchy or irritated eyes, especially when wearing contacts.

Allergies

Allergens are typically harmless substances that induce an allergic response in certain people. Pollen, mold, dust and pet dander are some of the most common airborne allergens that trigger eye allergies. Cosmetics and certain eye drops, such as artificial tears with preservatives, can also induce eye allergies, which can make contact lens wear uncomfortable.

Corneal irregularities

The cornea at the front of the eye may be irregularly shaped due to astigmatism, keratoconus, eye surgeries (i.e. LASIK or cataract surgery), eye injuries or burns, scarring, corneal ulcers and/or severe dry eye. Irregular corneas often prevent traditional contact lenses from fitting correctly and comfortably.

Symptoms of Contact Lens Discomfort

  • Burning, itchy, stinging eyes
  • Sensation of something being stuck is in the eye
  • Excessive watering or tearing of the eyes
  • Unusual eye secretions
  • Redness of the eyes
  • Reduced sharpness of vision
  • Blurred vision, rainbows, or halos around objects
  • Sensitivity to light

How to Relieve Contact Lens Discomfort

Try Different Contact Lenses

Nowadays, there are many types of contact lenses on the market, including specialty contacts for dry eyes and astigmatism. Meet with our optometrist for a personalized eye exam for contacts.

With the variety of contact lens brands available, switching to a different contact lens may be the simplest answer if you’re experiencing discomfort that isn’t connected to improper fitting or issues with tear production. If your existing lenses fit well but still irritate and dry out your eyes, speak to us about trying a different design or brand of contact lenses, or changing your lens-wearing schedule.

Artificial Tears or Eye Drops

Over-the-counter artificial tears or eye drops are a common way to temporarily relieve contact lens discomfort. However, it’s important to keep in mind that unless prescribed by an eye doctor, they may not be treating the root of the problem.

Moreover, certain eye drops are incompatible with contact lenses, and may damage your contacts or harm your eyes. We also recommend staying away from products that claim to remove redness from your eyes, which temporarily reduce the size of blood vessels to lessen redness, but do not address the underlying cause of the condition, and can actually worsen it over time.

Take Good Care of Your Lenses

Inadequate contact lens care leaves residue on your lenses, which can discomfort, harmful eye infections and inflammation. Below are a few important contact lens hygiene guidelines to follow:

  • Before handling your contact lenses, thoroughly wash and dry your hands.
  • Remove your lenses before showering, bathing or swimming to prevent infection.
  • Do not sleep in your contact lenses (unless they are approved for sleeping).
  • Replace your contact lenses according to the manufacturer’s instructions (e.g., don’t reuse daily wear lenses).
  • Regularly clean your contact lens case and ask your eye doctor when to replace it.
  • Only use a contact lens solution that is appropriate for your lenses.
  • Never reuse or mix contact lens solutions.
  • Schedule regular appointments with your eye doctor.

If you are experiencing discomfort with your contact lenses, get in touch with Pacific Eye Doctors in Maple Ridge today. We’ll get to the bottom of the problem and provide effective solutions for all-day comfort.

Q&A

What kinds of contacts are available?

Contact lenses are available in a wide range of materials and replacement schedules. Disposable contact lenses and extended wear contacts are the most convenient for many users.

I’ve already been fitted for contact lenses, so why did my optometrist ask me to come back?

If you’re asked to return a week later, it’s because your optometrist wants to rule out any issues, such as contact lens-related dry eye or irritation.

If it’s been around a year since your last eye checkup, you’ve likely been contacted to check whether your prescription has changed and to evaluate your eye health. The sooner problems are detected and treated, the better the outcome.

Can Lasik Correct Astigmatism?

The “perfect” eyeball would be a smooth sphere with optical lenses that function at their best. But in the real world, this rarely happens. Usually, eyes are not shaped perfectly and visual acuity is therefore compromised. When you have astigmatism, the eye is elliptical – similar to a football shape. As a result of this asymmetry, light rays traveling through it scatter, and vision is blurred.

Astigmatism is a common vision condition. By definition, it is simply a refractive error like nearsightedness and farsightedness. Just like those vision conditions, astigmatism can be corrected with prescription eyeglasses, contact lenses and LASIK. At our eye care clinic, we perform comprehensive eye exams to determine your candidacy for laser surgery. Book a consultation with our optometrist about LASIK.

How can LASIK help?

If you have only a mild astigmatism, laser correction surgery may not be required. But if astigmatism is disturbing your vision, LASIK can be an option.

During this procedure, your eye surgeon will use a laser to reshape your cornea so it is more spherical and can focus light properly. LASIK thereby improves vision across your entire visual field, and not just the part of your view affected by prescription eyewear.

How successful is LASIK for correcting astigmatism?

LASIK for astigmatism can be an excellent solution when compared to alternatives, such as glasses or contact lenses. That’s because eyeglasses and contacts work by cancelling out the visual distortion, whereas LASIK totally changes and corrects the irregularity in your cornea. For many people, the procedure is transformative to their lives.

The success rate of LASIK for astigmatism is associated strongly with the vision prescription of the patient and the unique shape of the eye. Official reports state that LASIK is most suitable for people with a prescription of up to four cylinders of astigmatism. Also, if you only have a tiny amount of astigmatism, such as 0.5 diopter, LASIK may not provide a significant benefit. Therefore, the success rate of LASIK for astigmatism varies, which is why you need an experienced eye doctor to assess your eyes and vision to determine your candidacy.

Our LASIK optometrists offer specialized consultations and eye exams.

Is LASIK affordable?

Even if you have an extreme vision prescription, LASIK is still regarded as an elective treatment by most insurance policies, so it isn’t covered by their basic plans. However, significant savings are frequently offered by various insurance plans. Our staff is knowledgeable about ways to make LASIK affordable, and we’re happy to share the info!

To discuss LASIK and other vision correction procedures, contact us for an appointment.