Lady rubbing eyes

Using contact lenses can result in the occasional issue. Here are the solutions to some of your most common contact lens problems.

Problem: Red eyes

Solution: 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.

Problem: Eye styes

Solution: Styes – sore, red lumps near the edge of your eyelid – can be painful, but they’re usually harmless and clear up within a few days. Can contact lenses cause styes? Not usually, but it’s best not to wear them until the infection heals, says Makin.

Problem: Headaches

Solution: 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 “If your prescription is out of date, the headaches could be a result of the prescription not being correct,” says Makin.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.”

Problem: Uncomfortable lenses

Solution: Discomfort is one of the main reasons new contact lens wearers switch back to glasses. The good news is your optometrist can usually help to ease – or eliminate – the discomfort.

“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.”

Problem: Dropped lenses

Solution: 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.

Problem: Sleeping in your contact lenses

Solution: Accidentally nodded off while wearing disposable or daily wear contact lenses? Take your lenses out and give your eyes a break. “Wait until at least the next day before putting your lenses in,” says Makin.

If you experience red, sore or swollen eyes, or blurry vision, don’t panic. “This is ‘overwear syndrome’ and it’s caused by a lack of oxygen to the eye,” says Makin. “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. Don’t wear your lenses for at least the rest of the day.”

Problem: Conjunctivitis

Solution: The advice here is simple: don’t wear contact lenses if 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.

Problem: Hayfever

Solution: 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 are here to help, ask your optometrist if you have any questions about contact lenses or book a contact lens fit or refresh appointment today.