5 Reasons Why Your Eyes May Feel Irritated When You Wear Contact Lenses


We treat patients for medical eye emergencies every day at Professional Vision. There can be countless reasons why someone’s eyes may be irritated with contact lens wear. I’ll list 5 of some of the most common reasons that I’ll come across. The most important thing with irritated eyes and contact lens wear, is to visit your eye doctor, so they can diagnosis the issue, and try to help you feel more comfortable with wearing contact lenses.

1. Dry Eye Components: Dry Eye affects more than 20 million people in the U.S., according to one Allergan study. (Count me as one of them!) Symptoms can include a burning sensation, excessive tearing, and redness. Some contact lenses can work better than others for dry eye patients.
2. Allergies/GPC components: Many people suffer from different degrees of allergies associated with contact lens wear. Giant Papillary Conjunctivitis (GPC) is where bumps develop under the lid, where the constant blinking motion over the contact lens can irritate the eyes. There are many effective strategies for contact lens wear and allergies. Daily disposable contact lenses can have tremendous benefits for contact lens wearers with seasonal allergies.
3. Lid involvement/ Meibomian Gland Dysfunction/ Blepharitis : Our lids have a complex system that properly lubricates the eye. When one component of it gets out of whack, it can dramatically affect the comfort of contact lens wear. There can also be different types of buildup on eyelashes, that can then fall into the eyes and irritate the surface.
4. Chronic Abuse of Contact Lenses/Overwear: Many of us have heard contact lens wearers say something like, “I wear my contacts until they start to bother me.” I’ll sometimes use the analogy of comparing that strategy to changing the oil after the car breaks down.
5. Fit/Type of Contact Lens: Whether it’s dated technology/an old school lens, or a lens that’s too loose or tight, there are many aspects of contact lens wear that can be affected by the fit and type of lens used. A person’s history is important in determining what contact lens may work best for them. Do they have allergies, dry eye, or certain systemic conditions?

While these can be major factors associated with contact lens confort, the list can go on and on. I hope this helps! Have a great day!

About Eyedrbarnstein

Dr. Richard Barnstein is an optometrist / partner with Professional Vision in the Baltimore area. ( Timonium and Carney ) Professional Vision is a boutique eyecare practice, with fashionable designer frames and sunglasses. We have an eye doctor available for eye appointments for contacts, comprehensive eye exams, and treatment of eye emergencies 6 days a week, at Timonium & Carney. Dr. Richard Barnstein, a Baltimore native, graduated from the Pennsylvania College of Optometry (now Salus University) in 1994. He attended James Madison University (1987-90) where he was accepted early into optometry school. Dr. Barnstein is therapeutically licensed to treat eye disease, and diagnoses and manages glaucoma. He also specializes in difficult contact lens fittings, dry eye disease, and LASIK co-management. Dr. Richard Barnstein is a member of the American Optometric Association and the Maryland Optometric Association. Dr. Richard Barnstein enjoys spending time with his wife, 2 children, and puppy goldendoodle. He's an avid Ravens, Terps, and Orioles fan, and loves live music. Profession Vision on Twitter Dr. Richard Barnstein on Twitter Check out Dr. Barnstein's Live Music and Sports Blog, Farmerstanproductions!
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