There are times when wearing contact lenses just does not feel right. Some days, wearing contact lenses feels flawless and easy but sometimes, it might sting or be uncomfortable.
These episodes of contact lens discomfort are experienced by many people and are normal in most cases. Usually, this does not make a person permanently stop wearing contact lenses. It takes only changing a few things with your choice of lenses, solution, or daily habits to make wearing contact lenses more comfortable.
What Is Contact Lens Discomfort?
Contact lens discomfort can be vague and hard to characterize. However, it is very distinguishable from contact lens dry eye or also known as contact lens-related dryness. They are related but are considered different.
The Tear Film and Ocular Surface Society (TFOS), a nonprofit organization of a team of eye care professionals and researchers gave a formal definition of contact lens discomfort for clarification purposes. According to TFOS, contact lens discomfort is characterized by:
- Intermittent or persistent eye discomfort sensations while wearing contacts.
- May or may not be accompanied by vision disturbances
- Sensations are more inclined to reduced compatibility among the eye environment and contact lenses
- May require decreased time or complete discontinued contact lens wear.
Causes of Contact Lens Discomfort
Contact lens discomfort can only occur while wearing contact lenses. It can be caused by the contact lens itself or the environment such as smoke, humid, sand, or dust.
Lens-specific causes include specific lens material such as the water content, design, fit, wearing modality (daily wear or extended wear), and lens solution. Environmental causes, on the other hand, include the person’s age, medications, or environmental factors such as tear film stability, ambient humidity, presence of dust, and sand.
The fundamental distinguishing characteristic of contact lens discomfort is the unwanted and uncomfortable sensations that would not go away while wearing contact lenses. On the other hand, contact lens-related dryness refers to eye discomfort experienced by people with pre-existing dry eyes that may be worsened by wearing contact lenses.
Remedies for Contact Lens Discomfort
Visit your optometrist or ophthalmologist to determine the specific cause of discomfort when putting on and wearing your contact lenses. Eye doctors will rule out any possible causes and any underlying conditions linked to your discomfort.
The rule of thumb is to see your doctor immediately if your eyes suddenly do not feel good, see well, or look good. In rare cases, minor contact lens irritation can become a very serious problem if ignored. It can even cost you your sight.