When clean and properly fitted, contact lenses should not cause any problems. They should feel comfortable and make a marked improvement to your vision from the moment you insert them. If that’s not the case, there could be something wrong.
Firstly, if your vision is worse when you wear contact lenses than it is without, you should question the accuracy of your prescription and seek out a second opinion from a qualified optician, optometrist or ophthalmologist. Similarly, if your eyes feel sore when you have contact lenses in, there could be an issue with the fit.
If you experience irritation or a burning sensation while you are wearing your contact lenses, then you should remove them immediately and try to identify the issue before resuming use.
How can contact lenses damage vision?
Continued use of improperly fitted contact lenses can lead vision problems to develop. Some can even lead to permanent vision damage caused from scaring due to abrasions, infections, and can result in long-term vision loss. For some, improper use of contact lenses may abolish your eyes’ tolerance to contact lenses altogether.
If the problem does not lie with the prescription or fit of your contact lenses, the issue could be improper use. Over an extended period, this can be incredibly damaging to overall eye health and may result in vision damage.
Opticians recommend that all contact lens wearers:
- Replace or change contact lenses as recommended by their optician
- Do not wear contact lenses past the recommended wearing duration
- Clean the contact lenses with the recommended contact lens solution
- Avoid any contact with water at all times
Can contact lenses be faulty?
Sometimes contact lens defects can occur during production. Manufacturers share a responsibility to ensure the safety of all their products, so all contact lenses are thoroughly quality assured by professionals before they are released to the public.
In the rare event that contact lenses are faulty, the manufacturer should call back all products from an affected lot and urge customers not to use their contact lenses.
What causes eye irritation when wearing contact lenses?
When your eyes feel sore from wearing contact lenses there could be a range of causes. Some are easily remedied whereas others may require more attention. These can include:
1. Eye allergies
Allergic reactions can cause a burning sensation in the eyes. Some people may have adverse reactions to irritants such as dust and pollen which can become trapped on or underneath your contacts. If you notice redness, itchy eyes, watery eyes or a burning feeling this could be the causal factor.
2. Environmental factors
More generally, particles in the air or poorly ventilated environments may increase risk of exposure to irritants. Particularly, smoky or smoggy environments can stimulate a burning sensation or watery eyes if you are wearing contacts.
3. Sensitivity to preservatives
Preservatives or other ingredients present in contact lens solution can sometimes cause an adverse reaction for those who are sensitive to them. Sensitivity can develop over time, so even the same contact lens solution you have been using for years may feel different later down the line. However, always be mindful to check expiry dates on contact lens solutions as this could be the cause of the irritation.
4. Dirty contact lenses
Protein deposits, lipid deposits and debris can accumulate on contact lenses as you wear them or if they are not stored appropriately. This can reduce the oxygen permeability of the lens and result in a burning sensation after a short period of wear. If you notice this feeling, remove your lens immediately and clean it with your contact lens cleaning solution or rinse it with saline solution to remove any dirt causing the discomfort.
5. Dry eyes
Dry eye is a common condition that affects everyone from time to time, but wearing contact lenses can often exacerbate the problem. Dry eye symptoms present as redness, tearing or a burning sensation. Improper use of contact lenses, or choosing a product that isn’t appropriate for your needs will likely make symptoms of dry eyes worse.
6. Incorrect use of eye care products
Products that are recommended to improve eye comfort can sometimes be used incorrectly. Eye drops offer a great solution to remedying the symptoms of dry eye, but there are specific types to be used under certain circumstances. Getting this wrong can be damaging to your eye health as well as to the contact lenses themselves. Make sure that you only use eye drops specifically intended for use with contact lenses when you are wearing them.
Which products are best for sensitive eyes?
If you are suffering from burning eyes, products that have been specifically formulated for sensitive eyes will help to alleviate discomfort. A full range of contact lens and eye care essentials for specific needs are easily available to order online from eye care retailers such as Feel Good Contacts.
Innovations in contact lens materials have been specifically developed to improve comfort during wear and to extend the recommended wearing duration for greater convenience, too. If you suffer from sensitive eyes, these new-generation materials might be a better option for you. However, they do not negate the need to follow wearing instructions accordingly.
For the most breathable contact lenses, opticians may recommend a soft silicone hydrogel contact lens. These are more porous than regular hydrogel alternatives and allow more oxygen to reach the eye. They are commonly associated with a longer wearing time, reduction in discomfort and less dryness.
In general, a daily disposable contact lens is the most risk-averse option for those with sensitive eyes, compared to two weekly, monthly or rigid gas permeable (RGP) options. This is because users will always remove and replace each lens with a fresh, brand new lens each day. This practice reduces the risks associated with insufficient cleaning altogether.