After a long day, the last thing you want to deal with is dry, uncomfortable contacts in your eyes. If you’re experiencing end-of-day contact lens discomfort, you’re not alone. Some contact lens wearers enjoy them during the day but find themselves struggling with dry eyes and irritation by the end of it. Luckily, there are several ways to manage symptoms and tackle eye irritation to help you start seeing clearly without the hassle.
Follow these six essential tips to help manage your contact lens discomfort.
1. Switch to Daily Disposable Contact Lenses
Daily disposable contact lenses have a higher water content and are thinner than extended wear lenses, improving overall comfort. Replacing your lenses each day will help avoid the build up of harmful bacteria, irritants, and allergens that often lead to end of day dryness.
Now, it’s essential not to confuse “daily wear” with “daily disposable.” Some brands are FDA-approved to use for a week or month, but they need to be removed each night since they are only approved for daily wear. Daily disposables, on the other hand, need to be removed and discarded each day. Since you replace your lenses every day, your eyes will feel more comfortable and healthier than longer wear lenses. Explore some of the reasons why switching to daily disposable lenses will relieve discomfort:
- Wide range of prescriptions accepted
- More affordable than you expect
- No need for lens care products
- Don’t accumulate bacteria, allergens, or other debris
- Healthier than other lenses
2. Switch Up Your Contact Solution
Over time, naturally occuring lipid and protein deposits from your tears can build up on your contact lenses. If you aren’t regularly cleaning and disinfecting your lenses, this buildup will cause discomfort that can negatively impact your day.
Even if you are regularly cleaning your contacts and aren’t finding relief, the issue might be a chemical irritant instead. See some of the common chemical irritants that impact contact lenses:
- Hand soaps
- Contact lens formula
- Cleaning solutions
- Eye drops
Always try to stick to doctor-recommended solutions to avoid contact issues. Then again, don’t be afraid to speak up, and make sure to talk with your optometrist if the discomfort persists. Your eye doctor may switch you to a different formula or recommend daily disposable lenses instead.
3. Don’t Overextend Your Usage
While it may be tempting to extend the lifespan of your contact lenses to save some extra money, your eyes could end up paying the price. That’s because soft contact lenses are designed with a set limit and begin to degrade once removed from their package. Depending on the type of lens you’re using, you’ll need to follow the recommended time limit for optimal benefits. The last thing you want to worry about is a potential eye infection or needing to get a contact lens removed because it was past its prime usage. So, what lens options do you have?
There are a few different contact lens designs that vary on how long you should use them, including:
- Daily disposables
If you overwear your contact lenses or even continue wearing them with noticeable cloudiness, you could be unknowingly exposing them to harmful bacteria. Not only are excessively dirty contact lenses uncomfortable to wear, but they put your eyes at risk for dry eye, eye infections, or corneal ulcers.
Avoid these common eye mistakes and make sure to always throw out your contacts according to your eye care replacement schedule to avoid any potential discomfort or injuries.
4. Address Irritants & Allergies
If you suffer from seasonal allergies, such as hay fever or pollen, it’s important to alert your doctors. These allergens can cause a range of discomfort and eye irritation that can also mimic eye infection. Plus, those irritants can get trapped behind your contacts, leading to uncomfortable usage all day long. Common eye allergy symptoms include, but are not limited to:
- Eyelid swelling
- Watery eyes
- Sensitivity to light
While these symptoms are unpleasant, there are ways to help decrease symptoms. Depending on the severity of your allergies, your optician may recommend several different treatments, including:
- Avoiding allergens
- Starting allergy medication
- Switching to daily disposables
- Using cold compresses to alleviate symptoms
- Trying allergy-specific ocular lubricants
- Stopping contact use for some time
Outside of allergy season, it’s still beneficial to stick to healthy contact care routines to keep your eyes healthy. Avoid irritants by placing your contacts in fresh solution every night and regularly replacing your contact lens container every three months.
5. Tackle Dry Eyes
As you can see, numerous obstacles may lead to contact lens discomfort, including allergens and other eye irritants. However, one of the most common reasons for eye sensitivity is dry eyes. Millions of people struggle with dry eyes, especially when wearing contacts.
If you find yourself in this situation of consistent dry eyes, it’s especially important not to try to self-medicate or discontinue contact lens use; instead, schedule an appointment to be tested.
Consistent dry eyes that aren’t alleviated by eye lubricants could indicate a more severe issue, like delayed subjective dryness (DSD). This extensive dryness is usually brought on by chemical irritants, such as those listed above, and directly affects soft contact lenses. Those suffering from delayed subjective dryness feel like they want to rip their contacts off at the end of the day due to irritatingly dry contacts. Even though this issue causes excessively dry eyes, it’s not to be confused with a chronic dry eye condition. DSD has specific, consistent characteristics that can help you identify it, such as:
- Lenses feel dry after the initial comfort period
- Dryness progressively worsens with time
- Common desire to “rip off” lenses by the end-of-day
- Eye drops provide only temporary relief
An easy way to tell if you may have DSD is by getting an eye exam and ensuring that your lenses fit correctly with no other issues.
6. Talk to Your Eye Doctor
At the end of the day, you don’t want to deal with uncomfortable or irritating contact lenses. Taking the time to book an eye exam with your optician will help you find clarity, added relief, and even avoid potentially harmful infections. From allergies to excessive dryness and everything in-between, you don’t need to continue to suffer in order to see.
Part of maintaining healthy eyesight throughout your life is by regularly connecting with an eye specialist. As your eyes age over time, you might need glasses or be regularly checked for health-related eye problems. Establishing with a trusted eye doctor, today, can be the difference between poor and healthy eyesight tomorrow.
Schedule your comprehensive eye exam with your eye doctor to start seeing relief.
Correcting Contact Lens Discomfort
At Art of Optiks, our professional team of optometrists, technicians, and support staff are ready to help you find the best eye care solutions. We prioritize your comfort and overall eye health while also striving to provide you with personalized care plans.