Contact Lens Problems & How to Fix Them
Contact lenses help millions of people see clearly. Since their debut in the 1970s, they’ve become more comfortable and easier to care for. That being said, there are a variety of problems that people who wear contact lenses need to be aware of, including:
- Torn Contact Lenses: There are several reasons a soft contact lens might tear. Fingernails are a common culprit. Failing to store contacts in enough solution can cause them to dry out and become brittle. Regardless of how the damage occurs, you should never wear a torn contact lens because it might scratch your cornea. If you’re already wearing a torn contact, apply rewetting solution to your eye before gently removing the lens. Moisture is your friend,1. as it reduces the likelihood that the lens will tear further. Once the torn contact is out, examine your eyes to make sure you didn’t leave any bits behind.
- Contact Stuck Under Your Eyelid: Contacts are designed to have a bit of “give” built in. This means they don’t stay suction-cupped to your iris (that wouldn’t be very comfortable). On rare occasions, they may stick to your eyelid. Should you find yourself in this situation, don’t panic. First, see if any part of the lens is peeking out from under the eyelid. If so, use your fingertip to try and gently work the lens lower. A contact that’s completely underneath the eyelid can sometimes be moved by massaging it downwards through your skin until you can see it. Adding eye drops may lubricate the lens and make the job easier.
- Inside-out Contact Lens: Should you accidentally put a contact lens in backwards—don’t worry—you won’t be able to see your brain. Instead, you’ll realize that something isn’t right. Your contact will be uncomfortable and won’t provide clear vision. Simply remove the lens, clean it off, and reapply properly.
- Dry Eyes: One of the more common complaints among people who wear contacts is dry eyes. Even though modern soft contacts and gas permeable lenses are more breathable than older designs, discomfort can still occur. Luckily, the fix is usually simple: apply a rewetting solution to the affected eye. If the irritation persists or gets worse, you may have an eye infection.
- Eye Infections: One major drawback to wearing contact lenses is a heightened risk of eye infections. This is simply due to the fact that you’re putting a foreign object into your eyes, and bacteria would love to come along for the ride. How do you know if you have an eye infection? Pain, redness, crusty debris, and watery eyes are common symptoms. Make an appointment with your eye doctor if you think you’re dealing with an infection. The most reliable ways to prevent an eye infection include washing your hands before inserting or removing contacts, and cleaning lenses according to the manufacturer’s guidelines.
Never buy contacts without a prescription from an optometrist or ophthalmologist, as over-the-counter lenses may not be sterile or manufactured to the proper standards.
Trying contacts for the first time? We created Contact Lenses 101 to answer all your questions about lens types, contact care, and more.