Why contact lenses cause dry itchy eyes and how you can cure it.
If you've been wearing contact lenses for several years, you are bound to have experienced occasions when your eyes have become itchy and your lenses feel scratchy and uncomfortable.
The feeling is like having grit in your eyes, and no matter how many times you take your lenses out to re-wet them, they just don't feel any better.
And you just can't resist scratching your inner eye in an attempt to relieve that itchy feeling!
For me, it always happens when there is a lot of dust in the air, coupled with strong winds which blows the dust right in your eye! That, and doing several long mountain bike rides in a row in hot weather; sweat runs down your forehead and some of it gets into your eye, leaving salty deposits on the lenses, which in turn start to make your eyes itch.
If you have really itchy eyes, the best solution every time is to take your lenses out and give your eyes a rest. Obviously, if you're not at home and you don't have a pair of glasses with you...
...then removing your lenses might not be an option, so here are some other suggestions for a cure for itchy eyes:
Carry a miniature bottle of contact lens solution with you and, if possible, take the lenses out for a minute or two and pop them in a contact lens case - 2 small glasses filled with solution will do if you don't have a case. Your eyes will feel much better when you put the lenses back in.
Failing that, just take each lens out and gently clean it with contact lens solution to re-lubricate the lens before re-insertion.
If you always suffer from dry itchy eyes when the pollen count is high or after you've done a sweaty sporting activity like cycling, then try changing the length of time you wear your lenses for. If you use two-weekly disposables, for example, reduce the wear time to just one week...
You can also try using eye drops, especially if you suffer from allergies like hay fever; eye drops are often better for lubricating lenses than ordinary contact lens solution, but you must make sure that the eye drops you choose are compatible with both your lenses and your normal contact lens solution.
Final solution? If you can afford them, invest in some ultra comfortable Acuvue Moist daily disposable contact lenses, for hot sweaty days in the saddle (like me!) or when you know that pollen in the air is going to makes your eyes itch like crazy. Then just throw away the lenses at the end of the day!
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