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Itchy Eyes and Contacts: How You Can Find Relief

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A close-up of human hands washing with soap and running water from the faucet. wash your hands before handling your lenses and use the contact lens solution recommended to you by your optometrist.

An estimated 45 million Americans wear contact lenses, enjoying the convenience and versatility that comes with going frame-less. But while many wear contact lenses comfortably, some people experience minor discomforts such as irritation and redness.

This discomfort can be frustrating when it happens to you. Instead of ditching your contacts, your optometrist can offer remedies for eye irritation, including eye drops or different lenses.

Common Eye Irritations Caused by Contact Lenses

Properly worn and cared-for contact lenses should give you clear vision while feeling comfortable in your eye. However, there are a few common irritations that contact lens wearers may experience:

  • Redness
  • Itchy eyes
  • Light sensitivity
  • Blurry vision
  • Feeling like something is stuck in your eye

Most of these symptoms should fade once you remove your contacts. Expired, damaged, or dirty lenses usually cause these symptoms. But some, such as blurry vision, could indicate a change in prescription or potential eye disease.

If you experience blurred vision while wearing contacts, or any of these symptoms don’t fade after removing your contacts, contact your optometrist.

How Can Contact Lenses Cause Discomfort?

Let’s look a little closer at what can cause contact lens discomfort.

Dry Eyes

Dry eyes are not only a common complaint for people who wear contact lenses, it’s a common condition affecting millions each year. Dry eyes can happen when your eyes are not making enough tears or are producing tears of inadequate quality. 

For some, it can be a chronic condition known as dry eye disease, but other factors can cause dry eyes, such as:


Allergies can leave your eyes itchy and uncomfortable. They can also make it difficult to wear contact lenses, as your symptoms could worsen if your contact lenses trap allergens against the eye.

Though rare, it’s also possible to be allergic to your lenses or contact solution. If you experience allergy symptoms after wearing contacts, speak to your optometrist to help determine the cause. 

Dirty Contact Lenses

A dirty contact lens could have debris or protein buildup invisible to the naked eye. This debris can cause irritation and possible infection. Ensure you’re following proper cleaning instructions for your contact lenses.

Remember to wash your hands before you touch your eyes and regularly replace your contact lens solution.

Improperly Worn Lenses

The contacts you wear should be specific to your eyes. Your optometrist can provide a contact lens exam and fitting, ensuring you get a contact lens precisely for your eye shape and prescription. Wearing the wrong lens can feel like wearing the wrong shoe size.

If you’re one of the 90% of wearers that use soft contact lenses, it’s possible to put your lens on inside out. If this is the case, simply remove them and make sure they’re put back on the correct way.

Eye Health Conditions

Sometimes your eye discomfort may not be because of your contact lenses. Instead, it can be a sign of a more severe eye disease. If you’re still experiencing irritation long after you’ve removed any offending contact lenses, contact your optometrist for an eye exam.

Contact lens wearers will likely experience moments of irritation, but if you constantly feel uncomfortable in your lenses, stop wearing them until you can confirm it’s not an eye condition.

An artificial tear single-use containers eye drops on hand.Eye drops are a great way to relieve occasional dry eye symptoms. Look for products designed for contact lenses.

Finding Relief from Contact Lenses & Itchy Eyes

Whatever the reason for your eye discomfort, your optometrist can determine solutions that work best for your vision. Some of these are easy at-home remedies that offer immediate relief, while others may involve changing your routine.

  • Proper lens care: It may seem simple, but failing to take care of your contact lenses can result in irritation and infection. Wash your hands before handling your lenses and use the contact lens solution recommended to you by your optometrist.
  • Eye Drops & Artificial Tears: Eye drops are a great way to relieve occasional dry eye symptoms. Look for products designed for contact lenses. Some artificial tears that aren’t compatible with your lenses could cause them to degrade.
  • Nutritional Supplements: Studies have shown that omega-3 fatty acids can assist in healthy tear production. Since tear production is vital for keeping your eyes moisturized, this can be an ideal remedy for those lacking proper nutrition in their diet.
  • A Change of Lenses: The lenses you wear need to be fitted properly by an eye care professional. You may need to try different lenses until you find the perfect fit. Depending on their unique eye health needs, some people may need to wear a specific type of lens.

Talk to Your Optometrist

Wearing contact lenses for the first time may feel strange, but it shouldn’t hurt or itch, and mild discomfort should certainly fade with time. Contact lens technology has advanced significantly in recent decades, and increased comfort is a part of that.

Seal Beach Eyes Optometry takes your comfort seriously. So whether you’re wearing your contact lenses for the first time or the hundredth time, contact our experienced team if they simply don’t feel right.

Written by Total Vision

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