Common contact lens problems (and how to fix them)

Wear contact lenses regularly? You might encounter the occasional issue. So here are some fixes to the more common contact lens problems.

The problem? Red eyes

The fix? Incorrect use of contact lenses and cleaning agents can lead to problems like red eyes. If you’re experiencing red, irritated eyes, it’s important to take out your contact lenses straight away, says Bupa optometrist Karen Makin. “Wait a day or so and if it doesn’t improve or it’s extremely painful, seek advice from your optometrist,” she says.

The problem? Styes

The fix? A break from your lenses. Styes are sore, red lumps near the edge of your eyelid that can be painful – even if they’re usually harmless. And while contact lenses don’t usually cause styes, it’s best to not wear them until the infection heals.

The problem? Headaches

The fix? If you have a headache that could be related to your contact lenses, check the expiry date of your prescription. “If your prescription is out of date, the headaches could be a result of the prescription not being correct,” says Makin. “It might be time for a new eye test and a new prescription.”

The problem? Uncomfortable lenses

The fix? See your optometrist. This is one of the main reasons contact lens wearers switch back to glasses – but as Bupa optometrist Karen Makin explains, there are ways to fix the problem first.

“There are lots of different types of contact lenses out there and while a particular type might be suitable for someone else, it may not be suitable for you,” says Makin. “More often than not, if you have a problem with one type of contact lens, we can arrange for a different brand, design or lens material.”

The problem? A dropped lens

The fix? If you drop a daily lens before inserting it in your eye, Makin says it’s best to give up and open a new lens.

If you drop an extended wear lens, look for it – straight away. Give it a good clean and store it in its case. “If you don’t find it straight away and find it, say, tomorrow, the lens is going to be quite dehydrated and brittle,” says Makin. “I would usually suggest throwing it away.”

If you split your lens during the search, the same advice applies: throw it away.

The problem? Sleeping with your lenses in

The fix? Take your lenses out and give your eyes a break. “Wait until at least the next day before putting your lenses back in,” says Makin.

And if you experience red, sore or swollen eyes or blurred vision, don’t panic. This is called ‘overwear syndrome’ – and it’s caused by a lack of oxygen to the eye. “It usually resolves itself, but what you can do is take the lenses out immediately, and perhaps put some lubricating eyedrops in to help alleviate the discomfort”, says Karen.

The problem? Conjunctivitis

The fix? The advice here is simple: don’t wear contact lenses while you have conjunctivitis. “Throw away any reusable lenses you’ve worn, and wait for the conjunctivitis to absolutely resolve and have been gone for a day or two before you start wearing contact lenses again,” says Makin.

The problem? Hayfever

The fix? Hayfever can cause of lot of discomfort to your eyes, and contact lenses can make the symptoms feel worse. Makin says lubricating eyedrops and reducing the wearing time of your lenses can help. “But if you’re really struggling, switching to glasses during hayfever season might be a better solution for you,” she says.

We're here to help

Ask your optometrist if you have any questions about contact lenses or book a contact lens fit or refresh appointment today.

Book a contact lens fit Find a store