Contact lenses definitely have some benefits over wearing eyeglasses, unfortunately, wearing contact lenses comes with a relatively common and sometimes dangerous side effect; contact lens intolerance. Contact lens intolerance—also known as CLI is a catch-all term for people who are no longer able to apply a lens to their eyes without pain. Many people who have common refractive errors such as nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism, and wear contacts, have experienced some form of contact lens intolerance.
Pinpointing the Cause of Contact Lens Intolerance
The American Academy of Ophthalmology says there are many factors that can contribute to contact lens intolerance. Some people have underlying ocular or systemic conditions, such as dry eye or allergies. Patient behaviour can be another factor, such as wearing contacts for too long or not following the care instructions. Disinfection and the solution used can cause unpleasant symptoms. Last but not least, the specific lens itself can create problems if the fit isn’t right, while some people can’t tolerate certain lens materials. Because of all these possible causes it can be difficult and take time for eye care professionals to determine what’s causing the symptoms.
Finding Comfort with Contacts
There are some measures people can take to prevent the itchy, irritated and red eyes that are associated with contact lens intolerance. Getting a proper fitting contact is the first step. Second would be to switch hydrating solution if you notice any of the symptoms previously mentioned. Perhaps most importantly, follow the care instructions; clean your contacts every day, don’t abuse your contacts by wearing them longer than you should, and make sure your hands are clean when you’re handling your contacts. These steps may not avoid the problem forever, but it may provide temporary relief.
A Permanent Solution
Some people will experience symptoms of contact lens intolerance a few times a year, while others will become so intolerant to contacts that they can no longer wear them at all. It’s often at this point people look for an alternative solution to their vision needs. Canadian Olympic figure skating bronze medalist Joannie Rochette started wearing contacts for competitions when she was eight years old. As she got older, she became intolerant of contact lenses because of the regular use. Only able to wear contacts for a few hours at a time, she looked into laser vision correction as a solution. At the age of 18 Joannie Rochette had LASIK at LASIK MD and never had to deal with contacts—or glasses—again.
At LASIK MD, patients are put through a series of comprehensive tests to determine their candidacy. With dry eye symptoms a potential cause of contact lens intolerance, the eye care professionals and refractive surgeons will be able to determine each patient’s risk of developing dry eye symptoms after the procedure. For some patients, they’ll aim to improve the dry eye symptoms using drops prior to surgery.
If you’re tired of the irritation associated with contacts, or just the daily hassles of putting them in and taking them out, it’s worth booking a free consultation at your closest LASIK MD clinic.
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