What Causes Contacts to Hurt?

Do your contact lenses feel like they are irritating your eyes? Contact lenses are supposed to feel natural and well-fitted. While your eyes may need time to adjust the first time you wear them, the discomfort should clear. Contact lenses should feel comfortable and be invisible as you go about your day. 

Why Contacts May Hurt

There are several reasons why your eyes hurt when wearing contact lenses. You could be wearing the wrong pair, or there could be something stuck on the lenses. The best way to find out why your contacts hurt is to have an eye exam with your doctor to ensure there are no further complications.

Dry Eyes

If you experience dry eye, your daily contact lenses may feel very uncomfortable, and your vision may become blurry. Dry eyes happen when your eyes do not have enough tears or produce poor-quality tears. 
Dry eyes may result from chronic health issues like dry eye disease or worsen after computer use or smoking. Addressing the cause of dry eye or changing to a more suitable type of contact lens can help.


The allergy season can upset your eyes and make your contact lenses feel much less comfortable. However, your eyes could also be reacting to the lenses themselves.

Contact lens wearers may develop an allergic reaction to the lenses called giant papillary conjunctivitis (GPC). GPC is a swelling of blood vessels in the eye that can cause severe eye irritation or vision problems. People who experience GPC may have to stop using soft contacts altogether.

Improper Fit

If your contact lenses do not fit properly, they may hurt your eyes. Not all pairs of contact lenses will feel comfortable because all eyes are different. If your eyes hurt from wearing contacts, the lenses may not be the appropriate size, material, or shape for your specific eyes. To protect your eyes, a contact lens exam and fitting are necessary when choosing your contact lenses.

Contact Lens Intolerance

Contact lens intolerance may happen when your eyes start rejecting contact lenses. You may recognize if your eyes are intolerant to contact lenses when they feel dry, itchy, painful, and red or have corneal abrasions.

Taking a break from contacts can help give your eyes time to rest before wearing them again later on. However, if your eyes continue to hurt whenever you wear contacts, you may need other vision correction alternatives. Alternative treatment could come in the form of wearing eyeglasses, lens surgery, or laser eye surgery.

Wearing Expired Contacts

Wearing expired contact lenses can blur your vision, cause eye infections, and feel painful. So, you must replace your contacts when they expire to maintain eye health. Discard your disposable contact lenses when it is time to do so, and you can also discard them if they hurt before reaching their expiry date.

If your contact lenses are hurting your eyes, it is essential to visit your optometrist right away. Your doctor can quickly resolve your contact lens issues and discuss alternative eye-correction options.

For more on what causes contacts to hurt, visit Drs. Dobbins & Letourneau Eye Care at our office in Lawrence, Kansas. Call (785) 843-5665 to schedule an appointment today.

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