Why Do My Contacts Burn? Troubleshooting Contact Lens Discomfort
Are you tired of your contact lenses making your eyes dry, red or itchy? Are you considering giving up your contact lenses in favor of glasses?
Before you throw out your contacts altogether, stop! You might want to take a step back. Consider making some changes to your routine first. There are lots of things you can do to prevent and eliminate contact lens discomfort.
We explain some great troubleshooting tips below. Keep these points in mind! You'll never again have to wonder, "Why do my contacts burn?"
Common Causes of Contact Lens Discomfort
Before treating contact lens discomfort, it's important to know the reason why you’re experiencing discomfort in the first place. Let’s first go over some common reasons why you might be experiencing burning and other symptoms.
One of the most common causes of contact lens discomfort is exposure to allergens. Dust, pet dander and pollen are all potential sources of irritation.
These allergens can accumulate on and underneath your contact lenses. This, in turn, can lead to intense rounds of contact lens discomfort.
If you're exposed to allergens, your eyes will also likely get red, watery and itchy.
If you have chronic dry eyes, they can make your contacts very irritating. Some common causes of dry eyes include:
- Medications (antihistamines, antidepressants, birth control pills, anti-anxiety drugs, etc.)
- Advanced age
- Inflammatory conditions like rosacea, blepharitis and autoimmune disorders
- Exposure to windy, dry or smoky areas
- Prolonged screen time
Women are also more likely than men to develop dry eyes. This is due to the hormone changes that occur during pregnancy and menopause.
Some people also develop contact discomfort due to the contents of their contact lens solution. They may have a sensitivity to the preservatives in their contact lens solution.
It's possible to develop a sensitivity or allergy to your contact lens solution. This can occur even if you've been using that particular solution for months or years.
Improper Cleaning and Handling
It’s important to regularly clean your lenses if you want to avoid irritation. If you don't put in or remove your contacts properly, then you’re more likely to cause discomfort.
Exposure to products like perfume, makeup and hair products is problematic. They can transfer to your lenses and cause irritation.
You're likely to experience irritation and discomfort if your contact lenses are ill-fitting. Improper fit can also lead to issues like corneal abrasions (or scratches to your cornea). These injuries must be quickly treated to avoid corneal infections and possible blindness.
Wearing Your Contacts for Too Long
Wearing your contacts longer than you should is another source of lens discomfort. You can also cause discomfort by wearing contact lenses past their expiration date. This can lead to bacterial infections and other issues.
How to Treat Contact Lens Discomfort
As soon as you start experiencing contact lens discomfort, what’s the first step? The first thing you ought to do is take your lenses out!
If the Discomfort Goes Away
If your discomfort goes away after you take your lens out, great! But look closely at your contacts to make sure there isn't any damage. If they appear torn or chipped, throw them away. Do not put them back in your eyes.
If your lens has a foreign body like dirt or an eyelash on it, that’s a quick fix. You can eliminate the discomfort by rinsing the lens with solution before re-inserting it.
As a lens wearer, you also need to be cautious with your personal hygiene routine. Therefore it's best to use hair sprays and perfumes before inserting your lenses. Then you can do your makeup. When removing your lenses, you’ll want to take them out before cleaning off your makeup each evening.
If you do all of the above and the problem continues, don’t panic. Simply remove your contact lenses and call your optometrist.
What If the Discomfort Doesn't Go Away?
If the discomfort continues, you'll need to visit your optometrist as soon as possible.
He or she will perform a comprehensive eye exam. This will help to determine the cause of your discomfort. Depending on what they find during the exam, they'll recommend a specific treatment. This should get rid of the burning and other symptoms.
The following are common treatment options that often eliminate lens discomfort:
- Restrictions on where and how long you wear your contact lenses. You may have to wear your prescription glasses for a few hours each day.
- Switching to a new, preservative-free contact lens solution. Hydrogen peroxide is a popular replacement contact solution.
- Switching to a new lens cleaner to get rid of protein deposits. This protein buildup is quite aggravating for sensitive contact wearers.
- Using lubricating eye drops to combat dry eyes.
- Using eye vitamins to improve the eyes’ ability to self-lubricate.
- Taking nutritional supplements like omega-3 fatty acids to discourage tear evaporation.
If none of these treatments work, your doctor may suggest one of these other remedies:
Changing Contact Lenses
There are different types of contact lenses to choose from, including:
- Daily disposables: These contacts eliminate the problem of the buildup of irritation-causing deposits. Since you use a new pair of lenses each day, there’s no time for any buildup to occur.
- Water content: You can change to lenses with a higher/lower water content. This can reduce any dryness and increase your comfort level.
- Silicone hydrogels: These are advanced soft lenses that promote extra moisture. They also allow for more oxygen to reach your eyes.
You may also need to switch to a new brand of contact lenses. Not all lens brands are the same. You may need to do some trial and error until you find the best brand for you.
A punctal occlusion is a procedure that blocks the ducts that drain the tears away from your eyes. It involves inserting a small piece of acrylic or silicone into each tear duct. The acrylic/silicone is called a punctal plug.
Having a punctal occlusion procedure helps to decrease tear drainage. It also makes it easier for your eyes to retain more moisture. You can "test drive" the procedure with temporary, dissolvable plugs.
Orthokeratology involves wearing specially designed gas permeable lenses overnight. These ortho-k lenses are best used to correct misshapen corneas. This issue results in vision problems like myopia, hyperopia and astigmatism.
While you sleep, these lenses gently reshape the front of your eyes. You remove the contacts every morning. You'll then be able to see well during the day without having to wear glasses or standard contact lenses.
Unfortunately, these orthokeratology results are temporary. You have to wear your lenses regularly at night to experience the benefits. But, this can be a great option if you want to improve your vision without having corrective surgery.
Tired of Asking "Why Do My Contacts Burn?"
These troubleshooting tips are very helpful for eliminating and preventing contact lens discomfort.
But, if you're still asking yourself "Why do my contacts burn?" you need a change. You might need to switch to a new brand.
LensPure.com has a wide range of brand name contact lenses for you to choose from.