5 Reasons Your Contact Lenses are Uncomfortable

woman rubbing her eyes because her contact lenses are uncomfortable

Are you looking for reasons your contact lenses are uncomfortable?

Possibly you are wondering if this discomfort is normal for contact lens wearers. Read below to find out review what might be causing you problems and how to make changes.

What is normal?

Contact lenses are very comfortable to wear and should provide good vision all day. You should have no (or minimal) awareness of the contact lens in your eye. Your eyes should remain white, without pain or light sensitivity.

If you have any symptoms of ongoing discomfort, discharge, redness, pain, light sensitivity, and blurred vision, remove your contact lenses immediately and consult your optometrist.

The main reason for contact lens discomfort include:

1. Dryness causing uncomfortable contact lens wear

Dryness of your eyes occurs for two reasons: Environmental or Personal Factors.

Environmental factors include Air conditioning, Reduced blinking with screen time, and wind.

Firstly, most of us work in air conditioning. Air conditioning reduces humidity and, as a result, moisture in our contact lenses. Consequently, we may experience an increase in dry eye symptoms.

Secondly, Your blink rate reduces by 50 % when you utilise a screen, so therefore you circulate your tears 50% less. Regular rest breaks from the screen every 30 minutes will help spread your tears more frequently and reduce the risk of dryness.

Finally, wind creates dryness on the front surface of your contact lenses and, therefore, will require more tears to lubricate your lenses. In particular, these effects are noticeable for cyclists, motorcyclists, and other fast-moving sports. Make sure you discuss your personal and environmental factors with your optometrist so they can recommend the best contact lens brand and minimise unnecessary uncomfortable contact lenses.

2. Wearing your contact lenses too long each day reduces your contact lens comfort

As a guide, you can wear contact lenses for 8-15 hours per day, depending on your tear quality, prescription, and environmental considerations. Excessive wearing time can be one of the main reasons why contact lenses are uncomfortable

Of course, an optometrist can assess your tear quality and evaluate the ideal wearing time for you. However, common sense prevails – if your lenses are consistently irritable after 12 hours – it means your perfect wearing time, maybe 10 hours. See your optometrist for confirmation.

With regards to prescriptions, higher prescriptions (or prescriptions with astigmatism) generally require thicker contact lenses. More tears are therefore needed to keep them moist. As a result, it may mean a reduced wearing time for you. Moreover, certain brands will dehydrate faster than others. Thus, discuss if an alternative brand can reduce your dryness with your optometrist.

Likewise, as discussed above, dryness from environmental factors such as screen time, air conditioning, and windy environments will reduce your wearing time. Regular rest breaks every 30 mins and lubricants may be required.

3. Keeping your lenses past their discard date.

Daily disposable lenses are for one wear only, regardless of how many hours they are worn. They should not be kept for any reason or recycled the next day.

Alternatively, Daily Wear contact lenses are worn each day, cleaned each day, kept overnight in a disinfecting solution, and worn for either 14 or 30 days. As a recommendation, choose an easy-to-remember date to replace your contact lenses—for Example, your birthday or the first of the month. If you are wearing fortnightly replacement lenses – add 14 days to this date. Significantly, Lenses kept past their replacement date will accumulate buildup, increase your risk of eye infection, and irritate the eyes.

Additionally, old lenses, either daily disposable or daily wear contact lenses (14 or 30-day replacement), will cause eye discomfort if kept after their disposal date.

Follow the replacement schedule recommended by your optometrist. Each day, each fortnight, each month, lenses are replaced. This will help improve your contact lens comfort.

You do not need a storage solution if you have daily disposable contact lenses. Immediately discard your lenses after each wear for that ‘fresh eye’ feeling.

If you have daily wear contact lenses (either 14 or 30-day replacement), you need a disinfecting solution to store your contact lenses hygienically. Ideally, a disinfecting solution to ensure maximum hygiene rather than a multipurpose solution is essential. One of the most common causes of eye discomfort is your contact lens solution or the preservatives in your contact lens solution. If you are having issues, discuss alternatives with your optometrist.

Generally speaking, you should use a new case every time you open a new bottle of contact lens disinfecting solution. Do not keep old cases due to the risk of contamination and infection. In fact, most boxes contact a new case. A somewhat overlooked reason your contact lenses are uncomfortable.

Chemists have an abundance of contact lens lubricants. So, how do you know which one is best for you?

Usually, contact lens wearers require non-preserved eye lubricants sold in tiny vials in boxes of 25-30 or sold in a pump-like bottle. These are much more gentle on the eye and reduce the risk of discomfort from the preservatives in eye drops.

Your optometrists will recommend the best lubricant for you. If irritation continues and you have correctly fitted lenses, you may need to reduce your wearing time each day.

In summary, our best tips to improve your contact lens comfort include, clean and replace your contact lenses as recommended. Discard old cases and use the recommended solution and lubricants. Know your maximum wearing time before discomfort commences. These tips will give you the best chance of comfortable contact lens wear!

Click here For a step by step guide on caring for your contact lenses to reduce uncomfortable contact lenses by the Cornea and Contact Lens Society of Australia.

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