Contact-lense wearers: Is what I'm experiencing normal?
June 25, 2014 2:17 PM   Subscribe

I'm a new contact-lense wearer. A couple of weeks ago, I got the Acuvue Moist daily contact lenses from an optometrist. I was told to wear them daily for a week to get used to them. I wore them for about 4 days (5 hours/day) and then I quit wearing them because I had to do a lot of driving on those days and the contact lenses made my eyes feel dry and uncomfortable. So now I'm trying to wear them again but they still feel as uncomfortable as they did when I first began wearing them. I don't have blurry vision when wearing them. They just feel uncomfortable and I know that they are in my eyes. I don't know if it's because I'm still not used to them or that my eyes just can't handle contact lenses. How long did it take you to get used to your contact lenses at first and how did it feel for you?
posted by missybitsy to Health & Fitness (27 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Usually my optometrist says to report back within a week when we try a new prescription (even if it's the same brand I've used in the past). Unless there is something unusual about your eyes or your Rx, sometimes a different brand can simply fit you better. This is something they should have lots of experience dealing with.

Ideally, contact lenses shouldn't feel like anything.

One thing that tripped me up when I first got lenses was that I would occasionally put them in "backward" (wrong side out) and the curve of the lens would rub on my eyelid. There's a subtle difference in shape that is sometimes hard to discern but you'll definitely feel it! This page has a diagram for reference.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 2:25 PM on June 25, 2014 [11 favorites]

You might also talk to your doctor about switching brands. I really like my Focus Night and Day contact lenses - they are more expensive but they are a lot less irritating on my eyes. You may have to try a different brand or two before you find one that works with your eyes.

Make sure you're putting them in right. You may also want to use eyedrops; that helps some contact-wearers. Again, talk to your optometrist about what type of eyedrops to use.
posted by sockermom at 2:27 PM on June 25, 2014

Definitely don't give up after only a few days of one type. I've been wearing contacts for twenty years and my doctors have given me a few over the years that don't work for me. Give it another couple of days and if they're still uncomfortable, let your doctor know.

It's also worth mentioning that if you're allergy prone and living anywhere with a pollen situation right now, that could definitely be affecting the way your eyes feel. During our pollen season I usually have to take mine out at the end of the workday (rather than bedtime) because my eyes feel so dry and itchy.
posted by something something at 2:28 PM on June 25, 2014

When I wear contacts after not wearing them for a long time, I have to use lots of lubricating drops (the ones designed for contact lenses) at first until my eyes get used to producing enough moisture to keep the lenses comfortable. If they aren't better in a couple of weeks, you may want to try another brand. Don't sleep with them in!
posted by quince at 2:41 PM on June 25, 2014

It's not normal to "feel" the lens in your eye at all.
I mean, when I've been wearing them for a long time, my eyes feel dry and achy and I want to take the lenses out, but you shouldn't "feel" them in there.

When I can feel the lens in my eye it's usually because I've put them on inside-out. This is something I did very frequently when I first got my lenses.
You'll be paranoid about it, so you'll check the lens for a long time before you put it in your eye and playing around with the lens makes it harder to discern which way is the right way round.

If you've got an eye lash in your eye or something like that, you'll definitely be uncomfortable.

Alternatively, you could just have super dry eyes and maybe you need a daily disposable or something like that?

Either way, you should go back to the optometrist!
posted by JenThePro at 2:43 PM on June 25, 2014

I had a problem with the "Moist" lens that caused a sore to appear in my inner eyelid the two times I tried the lens (with about 6 months in between)

I'm not sure if it was just bad luck or a genuine sensitive to the materials/ingredients but I've never had the same problem in the 20+ years of using standard soft contact.

I went back to my old style and the problem went away.
posted by bottlebrushtree at 2:46 PM on June 25, 2014

Did you get Acuvue Moist specifically because your optometrist suspected you have dry eyes? They're the ones that feel most comfortable to me, tho I can still feel they're there (I didn't used to have that problem when I first got contacts at age 15). So you may be unlucky and always have the problem, tho it's definitely worth trying various brands. I also have "bumpy (inner) eyelids" (yes there's a medical term but I forget. Giant Papillary Conjunctivitis maybe?), which also makes them less comfortable to wear. Something worth checking for.
posted by ClarissaWAM at 2:47 PM on June 25, 2014

I started wearing contact lenses when I was in 10th grade -- 20 years ago. Disposables were very expensive and not a big thing back then; I had soft lenses that got replaced every six months (or sooner if I ripped one). So I am not sure this applies to someone whose first contact lenses are dailies. It took about 2-3 months before I was used to having my contacts in and could put them in / take them out quickly.

Now I wear monthly disposables. I find the dailies are, in general, way too flimsy and too easy to tear.

It's probably the brand. Whenever I go in for an eye exam, the doctor always tries a few different brands so I can see which one feels best. Different brands work better for different people and different eye shapes.

Go back to your eye doctor and tell him that your eyes are getting dry with them in. If you have the right contacts you should not feel them at all when they are inserted properly. If mine feel funny, I take them out and look for dust particles and small hairs that need to be cleaned off.
posted by tckma at 2:53 PM on June 25, 2014

It does take some time to adjust to wearing them. I started wearing contacts every day after many years in glasses and I think it took me about a month to stop really noticing they were there. But even though I could feel them, they weren't uncomfortable. If your contacts feel uncomfortable I think that means you should try another brand. I have very dry eyes and it took me several rounds of experimenting with about 6 different types of contacts to find one that was comfortable. Turns out I have very dry and sensitive eyes, and Acuvue Moist daily disposables were best for me. YMMV.
posted by joan_holloway at 3:01 PM on June 25, 2014

"bumpy (inner) eyelids" (yes there's a medical term but I forget.

Blepharitis? Washing your eye area, lashes and even your eyebrows with baby shampoo helps this condition a lot.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 3:02 PM on June 25, 2014

My contacts feel like sandpaper against my eyes within a few hours of putting them in unless I use allergy eye drops first (recommended by the optometrist). With the eye drops I can't feel my contacts at all. I use monthly lenses but am looking at switching to a shorter time period as towards the end of the month they can get uncomfortable.
posted by poxandplague at 3:08 PM on June 25, 2014

I just started on contact lenses for the first time in May. I did not feel them at all from the get go. My optometrist mentioned to me that a lot of dailies feel terrible. She prescribed me these Dailies Totals and I've never had an issue.
posted by haplesschild at 3:21 PM on June 25, 2014

I had this - they tickled my eyes. It took some troubleshooting but eventually I found the right size.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 3:30 PM on June 25, 2014

I've also been wearing contacts for over 20 years, six monthly ones at first then monthly ones for the last umpteen years. I've never had any problems except with daily use ones, which I tried for a while, and which made my eyes feel dry and uncomfortable. I can't remember if this is my own theory or if my optician confirmed it, but I put it down to the fact that they were so thin they dried out really fast. I went back to the monthlies and never notice they're in at all. Nthing trying some different brands/types until you (hopefully) find ones that suit you.
posted by billiebee at 3:52 PM on June 25, 2014

I've worn contacts for over 10 years and am currently using daily disposables. Normally I put them in around 7am and take them out around midnight without really noticing I'm wearing them.
However, the last month or 2 have been brutal allergy-wise and I've felt uncomfortable enough now and then that I've just worn my glasses a few times. So it's possible it's just bad timing too.
posted by bowmaniac at 4:12 PM on June 25, 2014

My eye doctor sent me home with a bunch of different varieties the first time. For me, only Acuvue Oasys combined with this storage solution didn't irritate my eyes.
posted by quiet coyote at 4:35 PM on June 25, 2014

I've been wearing contacts for a long time. Acuvue Daily Moist don't work for me, either. I gave it a year! I kept throwing them away, because some would feel weird. I almost felt like it was a quality control issue, but that's not a scientific statement. I went to the Dailies Total, and felt so much better! They are significantly more expensive, but I figure for my eyes it's worth it.
posted by pizzazz at 4:57 PM on June 25, 2014

30 years of wearing contacts here too. Any kind of Acuvue lenses feel like shards of glass in my eyes; maybe try another brand. But when I first started wearing them it did take about two weeks to get used to them.
posted by tamitang at 5:17 PM on June 25, 2014

I have been wearing contacts for 30 years. I currently use Acuvue II.

My ophthalmologist prescribed the Acuvue Moist when they launched. It felt like wearing sand in my eyes. He said I was one of the 10% allergic to some constituent of the polymer.

Perhaps you should try the old, Acuvue version. For most, Acuvue Moist feels like an optical oasis! For the few of us who are sensitive, they are horrible.

Good luck.
posted by Punctual at 5:29 PM on June 25, 2014

There's different kinds of contact lenses, talk to your eye doctor about switching to another type/brand. I wear acuvue oasys on the weekends + clear care solution (don't get it in your eyes till the hydrogen peroxide has been neutralized) and it works great.

Carry rewetting drops designed for contact lenses if your eyes get painfully dry also.
posted by TheAdamist at 6:39 PM on June 25, 2014

Nthing that this isn't normal. It's been a long time since I first got contacts, but I don't recall any significant adjustment period or irritation.

Are you sure that they're in the right way? The one thing I had a bit of trouble with was putting them in backwards. It's a little hard to tell, but when they're correctly oriented they should be quite round. When they're backwards, there's usually a little "lip" around the edge.
posted by charmcityblues at 6:57 PM on June 25, 2014

Forgot to mention - once I started the eye drops I could no longer feel the contacts at all. I also store mine in a hydrogen peroxide solution.
posted by poxandplague at 7:11 PM on June 25, 2014

There are definitely noticeable differences between different brands. I normally wear B&L Purevision monthlies, but I also have Acuvue Moist dailies (for when I know I'll be in environments that will screw up my lenses quickly, e.g. swimming or being around smoke). The Acuvues are more noticeable when I first put them in (they feel different, maybe a bit thicker or stiffer), but after an hour or so, I don't notice them anymore.

I started wearing contacts about 20 years ago, and I'm pretty sure I had a lot more irritation back in high school, but I think that says more about the advancement of contacts technology than anything else.

Now I sleep in my lenses and all. I wear sunglasses a lot more than regular people to keep my eyes from drying out (especially while biking), but usually I don't need rewetting drops or anything. Not everyone is like this; my sister has never found contacts she can wear for longer than day use, and by the end of the day, the drying out is fairly irritating for her.
posted by ktkt at 12:47 AM on June 26, 2014

Nthing the advice to talk to your doc. Don't feel obligated to use the first ones they put you in. In my experience, they usually give you the new! Fancy! Expensive! Ones to try first and sometimes those contacts don't work for you. When you go back for your follow up, ask to try a different brand.

Also, I personally think that unless you are a serious allergy sufferer, the dailies are a waste of money. They're super flimsy and I couldn't justify the cost. I wear acuvue oasys, but I prefer acuvue 2. The dailies were very uncomfortable for me. I also tried a monthly pair (since I usually stretch my 2 weeks to a month) but they felt so thick I couldn't manage them.

Try some new brands and I'm sure you'll find something that works for you.
posted by ThaBombShelterSmith at 7:09 AM on June 26, 2014

I tried many many many kinds of contacts. My eyes simple could not get used to having something in them. I tried all sorts of drops. Some people just can't wear them. I'm one of them. Luckily I look better in glasses than without them.
posted by kathrynm at 10:08 AM on June 26, 2014

If it feels uncomfortable, it is. No matter what your doc says, you are the best judge for what works for you. From my experience, a lot of docs are pushing products that have nothing to do with you or what would be best for you. I have had this experience every time I go to see my doc for contact lenses. Reject what doesn't work for you and don't fall into the upsell game. Acuvue is a good brand, I wear it daily.
posted by jellyjam at 4:03 PM on June 26, 2014

I've tried contacts two times, but always kept feeling them uncomfortable, especially at the end of the day or when I was tired. Tried it for several years. Then switched back to glasses. Never looked back since.
posted by hz37 at 2:40 PM on June 27, 2014

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