Tips to help reduce contact lens irritation


Woman putting a contact lens in her eye

Millions of people around the world wear contact lenses either weekly or daily, and many could be affected by contact lens irritation.

Contact lenses give you so much more freedom than glasses, however, to get the most from contacts you must take care of your eyes, as they can make eyes more prone to dryness. So if you wear contacts regularly, you may well need some extra help to keep your eyes hydrated and prevent discomfort.

It’s a good idea to understand the best practices around wearing and even putting in contact lenses, as well as the reasons that could be causing contact lens irritation.

53% of contact lens wearers in the UK claim one of the main reasons for discontinuation is discomfort, so it might possible that you may have been affected, but why?


Dry eyes and contact lenses

Contact lenses are a leading cause of dry eyes, as they can irritate the eye and cause dry eye syndrome.

They could also prevent tears from adequately covering the eye’s surface. In this instance, using a rehydrating eye drop that’s also suitable for contact lenses could be considered.

Optrex Intensive Eye Drops, for example, can help reduce symptoms of dry eyes while also being suitable for contact lens wearers.


Types of Contact Lenses

Depending on what you want to wear lenses for, there are a number of different types to try. You may want to wear contact lenses every day, or only a few days a week, depending on what activity you are engaged with.

For sport, for instance, contact lens wear can be a more pragmatic choice than glasses. Speak to your optician to discuss what would best suit you.

The two main varieties (daily and monthly) of re-usable lenses can be used up to a certain time before needing to be thrown away. After use, it’s essential to disinfect them.

Soaking overnight is the most common option - this requires changing of solution daily, and cleaning of the storage container at least weekly.

With daily disposable-wear lenses, simply use them once, and throw them away. Never re-use disposable lenses as this could lead to infection.


Putting contact lenses in

Before handling your contact lenses, ensure that you wash, rinse and dry your hands thoroughly. This also goes for when removing them, as for monthly contact lenses you will need to remove them with a view to wearing them the next day.

Refreshing the solution you keep them in will also ensure that your lenses are clean for next use. If you experience irritation in the corner of your eye when you put your contact lenses in the morning, this could be due to eye discharge that has built up overnight, so make sure to clear your eyes before application.


Daily Wear

In general, many opticians may advise you in person that contact lenses should be worn for a maximum of eight hours per day, although depending on the type, and on the person, this can vary. Speak to your optician for clarification.

Here are some other tips to be aware of:

  • Never wear your lenses while you’re showering, or swimming unless you use water-tight goggles.
  • Never wear your lenses overnight, unless wearing a type that specifically allows it
  • Never wet your lenses with saliva
  • Never bring your lenses into contact with tap water
  • Seek professional care if you find problems with your contact lenses

Find out more top tips about contact lens safety.

If you experience extended symptoms of dry eye, or other forms of irritation, such as tiredness, then visit your doctor, pharmacist or optician for professional advice.