Women sitting at a desk, rubbing her eyes
Women sitting at a desk, rubbing her eyes

Contact Lens Discomfort

As many as 45 million people in the U.S. wear contact lenses for vision correction, and proper care is vitally important in preventing complications.

Contact lens discomfort can occur for a variety of reasons. In order to keep your eyes healthy and contact lenses comfortable, it’s important to properly follow the maintenance and replacement schedule recommended by your eye doctor. If they’re not followed, problems with vision, comfort and other safety issues can occur.

You should be aware that the following problems may occur:

  • Eyes stinging, burning, itching (irritation) or other eye pain
  • Comfort is less than when lens was first placed on eye
  • Abnormal feeling of something in the eye (foreign body, scratched area)
  • Excessive watering (tearing) of the eyes
  • Unusual eye secretions
  • Redness of the eyes
  • Reduced sharpness of vision (poor visual acuity)
  • Blurred vision, rainbows or halos around objects
  • Sensitivity to light (photophobia)
  • Contact lens–related dryness

If you notice any of the above symptoms:
Immediately remove your lenses.

Because complications from contact lens wear can have such a wide range of symptoms, it is advisable that you speak to your eye doctor if you notice any of the above symptoms, as they may be signs of a serious complication.

Common + Treatable Issues

Discomfort: An occasional or persistent uncomfortable feeling of the contact lens in the eye is common with early wear. This tends to improve as you get used to wearing contact lenses. Lubrication and a gradual increase in wearing time can help eyes adjust to contact lenses.

Contact Lens–Related Dryness: Contact lens wear can worsen dry eyes, but there are ways to improve this.

Talk to your doctor about artificial tears, prescription eye drops, contact lens rehydrating drops or hydrating contact lens solutions.

Biotrue® Multi-Purpose Solution and Biotrue® Hydration Plus Multi-Purpose Solution provide exceptional cleaning, disinfection and up to 20 hours of moisture.*

Corneal Infiltrates: Contact lens wearers may develop small white bumps on the surface of the eye. Many people have no symptoms, while others may notice redness or irritation. Talk to your eye doctor if you have these symptoms as it could be the sign of an infection.

Giant Papillary Conjunctivitis: Long-term contact lens use can cause inflammation in the upper eyelid—typically resulting in itching or the sensation of having something in the eye. This condition often improves with proper contact lens care and a break from wearing contacts. If persistent, allergy or steroid drops may help.

Poor Fit: Your eye’s size and shape are unique to you, and your contact lenses should be too. Your eye doctor performs a variety of measurements to make sure your contact lens is well-fitting.

Environmental Allergens: Your eyes may become irritated when there are large amounts of environmental allergens, such as dust or dander. These allergens can stick to the surface of lenses, causing irritation for the wearer.

See Also: Caring for Reusable Contact Lenses with Biotrue® Multi-Purpose Solutionlink-out icon

Preventing Complications

Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations, cleaning your lenses with each use and replacing them on the schedule your eye doctor recommended for you. This is the best way to ensure your lenses stay comfortable and your eyes stay healthy.

Underlying Conditions

Irritation in your eyes may not come from your contact lenses at all. If your eyes become red, swollen, or if you experience discharge, you should remove your contact lenses and contact an eye doctor immediately. Your symptoms may be a result of infection or underlying disease and should be diagnosed and treated as soon as possible. You should not wear contact lenses if you have an eye infection or while using certain topical eye medications.

Troubleshooting Tips

If the discomfort or problem stops, then look closely at the lens. If the lens is damaged in any way, do not put the lens back on your eye. Place the lens in the storage case and contact your eye doctor. If the lens has dirt, an eyelash, or other foreign body on it or the problem stops and the lens appears undamaged, you should thoroughly clean, rinse and disinfect the lenses, then reinsert them. After reinsertion, if the problem continues, immediately remove the lenses and consult your eye doctor.

If the above symptoms continue after removal of the lens, or upon reinsertion of a new lens, a serious condition such as infection, corneal ulcer, neovascularization or iritis may be present. You should keep the lens off your eye and seek immediate professional identification of the problem and prompt treatment to avoid serious eye damage.

*Based on a laboratory study.