Eye Effects in Calgary & Didsbury
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What Causes Contacts To Hurt?

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A woman wearing a white shirt in front of a grey background touching her eye's in discomfort as she is getting some pain from her contact lenses

Contact lenses are convenient, versatile, and available for almost anyone with today’s technology. But sometimes contacts can feel irritating and painful. Whether you wear daily, weekly, or monthly contacts, they can sometimes hurt.

Why is this happening? There are several reasons that your eyes might feel uncomfortable. Let’s discuss some common causes of pain for contact lens wearers. Beyond your regular annual eye exam, a contact lens fitting makes sure that your prescription and comfort aren’t compromised.

The first step when your lenses are bothering you, is to remove your contacts. If contact lens related-pain or any type of eye pain becomes too severe to manage, contact our practice and head to our office for emergency eye care.

Reasons Your Contacts Lenses Hurt

Contact lenses are never supposed to hurt. While there might be some getting used to them the first time you try contacts, the discomfort should go away pretty quickly. Contact lenses should feel natural and be unnoticeable throughout your day. So if your eyes are hurting, something is wrong.

There are numerous potential causes of why your eyes hurt while wearing contacts. It could mean that you’re not wearing the right pair. It could mean there are other complications with your eyes. 

Getting to the bottom of your contact lens pain requires an eye exam with your optometrist. But there are some factors likelier than others.

Your Contacts Don’t Fit Properly

The relationship between your eyes and your contact lenses is an important one. And because your eyes are unique, not every pair of contacts is going to feel good. If your contacts are hurting they may not be the right size, shape, or material for your eyes.

A contact lens exam and fitting is essential for protecting your vision when you choose contact lenses. This exam is dedicated to understanding how contacts fit your eye. You may require toric or aspheric lenses, depending on your prescription.

Contact lens fittings don’t just provide the right prescription, they address your eyes’ contact compatibility as well. Buying contacts that don’t fit can make your eyes hurt, waste your money, and even be dangerous to your vision.

Leaving Lenses In at NIght

Are you taking your contacts out at night? If the answer is no, this might be why your eyes are hurting.

Contact lenses are a very safe form of vision correction when they are used according to your optometrist’s guidelines. But leaving lenses in for days at a time can cause vision complications. Keeping contacts in at night can increase the risk of infection up to 8 times. Avoid sleeping with your contacts in and be diligent before you go to sleep.

Not Replacing Your Contacts

You may prefer daily, weekly, or monthly contacts. And your eye doctor may recommend a product that’s best for your vision. But the important thing is to always replace your contacts after the designed wearing period.

Expired lenses can cause blurred vision, discomfort, and lead to eye infections. So, dispose of those disposable lenses each period and keep your eyes feeling comfortable. And don’t be afraid to throw out your lenses early if your contacts hurt before the scheduled expiry.

A person holding a contact lens container adding solution with a bottle to the contact lens compartments

Diluting Your Contact Solution

If you think saving a little money by diluting your contact solution is no big deal, think again. Contact lens cleaning solution that is not fresh will not properly sanitize, disinfect, and clean your contacts. Replace your solution every time to avoid contact lens pain.

Topping off your solution with water is also a no-no. Water (even distilled) contains microbes that can increase the chances of an eye infection. Invest in fresh contact solution and invest in your ocular health.

Dry Eye Syndrome

Dry eye syndrome is a condition resulting from inadequate tear production. This can make your eyes feel irritated and painful. Contact lenses can amplify this discomfort.

The good news is that special dry eye contact lenses are available in the market. Along with dry eye therapy, your optometrist can suggest contacts that might work best if you’ve been diagnosed with dry eye syndrome.

Too Much Screen Time

Spending too much time on digital devices can lead to digital eye strain. Digital eye strain is becoming more and more popular, as today’s daily routine includes smartphones, laptops, and tablets. And the fatigue might be more noticeable when you wear contact lenses.

Consider wearing blue-light blocking lenses when using a computer, instead of wearing your contacts. These glasses are specially designed to block the blue light that digital screens emit. Browse our optical dispensary for options to take away the contact pain.  

You Have an Eye Infection

Poor ocular hygiene and misuse of your contact lenses can lead to an eye infection. But other factors cause an infection too. When your eye is infected it can make wearing contacts very painful. 

If your eyes are red, watery, or in pain, take your contact lenses out immediately. Contacts that have been exposed to an eye infection need to be discarded immediately. Eye infections that remain very painful may require emergency eye care

Contact Fittings for Comfort

There are many reasons that your contacts might hurt, but there are also many solutions. Choosing to wear contacts doesn’t need to mean that your eyes will hurt. The easiest way to ensure your eyes are set for success is with a contact lens exam and fitting. Contact lens exams and fittings make sure that your lens choice is the right one for your eyes. And the process involves a follow-up session to make sure your vision is healthy and your contacts aren’t hurting. Schedule an appointment to find the contacts that are most compatible with your eyes.

Written by Dr. Rod Adams

Dr. Rod Adams is a graduate of the University of Alberta and the University of California at Berkeley School of Optometry. Dr. Adams has been in private family practice since 1997. During this time, he has developed a strong interest in pediatric optometry and laser corrective surgery options.
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