Eight Reasons Why It Burns When You Put In Your Contacts

Eight Reasons Why It Burns When You Put In Your Contacts

Whether it’s a fashion statement or a matter of convenience, many people choose to wear contact lenses. Nowadays, you can choose from daily wear to extended wear, depending on your lifestyle needs.

However, with the convenience of contacts, comes the great responsibility of taking care of them (and your eyes). Here’s why you should reserve “feeling the burn” for leg day at the gym rather than from putting in your contacts. Your contacts should never cause you pain or feel uncomfortable. If you’ve ever experienced a burning sensation when putting in your contacts, it’s not normal and you should get to the bottom of it sooner rather than later. Below are eight reasons why this might happen.

1. You need to up your hand-washing game

It’s possible that your contacts could be contaminated in some way. Since you put your contacts in with your hands, it’s important to make sure you’re washing them well. It’s best to use a mild soap and to dry them on a lint-free towel to avoid any particles sticking to your lenses. You might also want to hold on the fancy hand lotion until after you’ve put your contacts in: perfumes and harsh substances can remain on contact lenses, which could certainly be a cause for that burning feeling.

2. You have allergies

You may have allergic conjunctivitis, which causes inflammation and a burning sensation. An allergic reaction occurs when your body perceives a (usually) harmless substance as harmful. Your body can use various techniques to rid itself of the potential intruder. For example, if you have seasonal allergies to pollen, you might notice that you sneeze a lot. That’s because your body is literally trying to get rid of the pollen particles in your nose.

When it comes to your eyes, the same applies. You can be allergic to dust, pollen, pet dander, and harsh chemicals (like perfumes or cleaning products). The allergens can settle on and under your contact lenses, causing burning, redness, itchiness, and watery eyes.

3. You’re sensitive to the contact lens solution

You read that right, sometimes the contact lens solution is the culprit. That doesn’t mean you need to stop wearing your contacts but you may have to find a new way to clean them. Over time, an accumulation of dirt, dust, allergens, or germs can reduce the amount of oxygen getting through to your eyes and cause irritation and a burning sensation. Consider speaking to your Optometrist for suggestions on an alternative cleaning solution.

4. You have dry eyes

How can you tell if your eyes are dry? Symptoms include redness, scratchiness, feeling like there’s something stuck in your eye (foreign body sensation) and even watery eyes. The last one might seem counter-intuitive, but your eyes can actually compensate for excessive dryness by producing “reflex” tears. These types of tears are very watery and are also the type your eyes produce to protect you from harsh irritants like smoke, onions, or a dusty wind gust. Your Optometrist can help you determine if you have dry eyes with a simple, painless test.

5. You have an infection

Another reason you may experience burning is that you have an infection. While there are many types of eye infections, keratitis, corneal ulcers, and contact lens-induced acute red eye are the most common types associated with wearing contacts.

6. You’re wearing too much eye makeup

While it’s fun to get dolled up for a special occasion, you do need to be careful with your eye makeup . Products with glitter and lining the inside of your waterline could potentially lead to particles entering your eyes and irritating them.

7. You wear your contacts for longer than you’re supposed to

According to a survey conducted by the American Optometry Association, almost 60% of people admitted to wearing their disposable contacts for longer than recommended. “This bad habit can cause permanent eye damage from bacterial infections and oxygen deprivation.” We all go into “lazy mode” sometimes but doing so with your contacts can lead to dangerous consequences.

8. Your contacts don’t fit properly

Your contact lenses need to have that perfect fit, not only for comfort but for safety, too. They need just the right amount of curve, thickness and diameter for your specific vision needs. If your eyes burn when you put your contacts in, you might need to get them fitted again. And if you’re thinking about just pushing through that burning feeling, don’t. If you let it go on for too long, you could actually develop contact lens intolerance.

Starting to feel like it’s time to say goodbye to your contacts? If you’re ready to ditch them, book your free no-obligation consultation today to see if you’re a candidate for laser vision correction.


American Optometry Association. 2015 American Eye-Q Survey. Posted 2015. Accessed Aug. 9, 2018.