Will my eyes ever adjust to wearing contacts?
May 13, 2004 12:56 PM   Subscribe

Will my eyes every adjust to wearing contacts?

I just started wearing contacts, a week ago, and my eyes always feel tired. They are not uncomfortable, just make me feel like I want to close my eyes all the time. Will my eyes adjust to these new attachments, or should I not spend the money next week on a year's supply if I am going to forever walk around feeling like I haven't slept in days?
posted by archimago to Health & Fitness (15 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Obviously, most people adjust. Can you buy a smaller supply and see if it gets any better? Also, maybe a different brand would work better in your eyes. Talk to your eye-care professional.
posted by reverendX at 1:08 PM on May 13, 2004

My personal experience, you probably will get used to contacts after a bit, but it may very well take a while. And that's not to say that contacts will always be comfortable. I would recommend talking to your doctor about the particular discomfort you're having, as various brands/types of contacts can make a big difference. No matter what, I'd see about buying just a couple of month's worth of contacts if possible, even if the per unit cost is slightly higher.

I've had contacts for about 8 or 9 years now, and it is just such a normal part of my daily life now that I don't think about it at all.
posted by shinynewnick at 1:13 PM on May 13, 2004

I don't wear contacts anymore (interesting timing, though, I'm thinking about going back to them), but I wore them pretty much from junior high through college. You will get used to them, but ditto on the comments about talking to your eye guy about it...especially if you still feel this way in another couple of weeks. But egads, man, don't buy a year's worth of contacts all at once. If nothing else, your prescription might change.
posted by bingo at 1:19 PM on May 13, 2004

Don't overwear them - if anything, that will make your eyes even more tired. Make a conscious effort to blink a bit more and use eyedrops if you need them. I've worn contacts for 15 or so years and still go to glasses in the morning and evenings because that's when my eyes are the most irritable - there's no getting around it for me.

I also concur w/checking with a doc - the sizing or type might be off for you.
posted by Sangre Azul at 1:27 PM on May 13, 2004

Your corneas literally develop callouses on them when you wear contacts at the beginning. Takes about a month, and then they bother you a lot less. After 6 months or so, you won't even notice them.

Your eyes might just be dehydrated, especially if you smoke. Get some lens-wetting drops.

Some daily lenses have lousy quality control on the manufacturing. If you put in a lens and it still feels uncomfortable after 5-10 minutes, try throwing it away and putting in another. I throw away about 1 out of every 5. If you have weekly/monthly lenses, try taking them out and cleaning them every day, and start sleeping with the lenses in only once you get used to them.

Different brands have different thicknesses and breathability. I tried several different brands and curvatures before I found the right ones. Go talk to you eye-care guy about it.

If your eyes are ever red, go see someone immediately. While you're getting used to putting them in and taking them out, you can easily scratch your cornea and get an infection that can have serious consequences.
posted by fuzz at 1:34 PM on May 13, 2004

My eyes adjusted by initiating the process of neovascularization. Okay, this wasn't just contacts' fault: I'm a lazy, lazy man and habitually wore my disposables for longer than I should have. But I'm still more comfortable in glasses (and am really tempted to try laser surgery, once there's a few more years of data).
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 1:44 PM on May 13, 2004

What everyone else said--it takes a long while to not notice them. Limit your time in them, building up slowly to the whole day--don't ever sleep in them even if you can (so my doctor says), and use the drops (Visine for contacts is good).
posted by amberglow at 1:53 PM on May 13, 2004

It took me awhile to get used to my contact lenses, because I have a strong astigmatism in my right eye, which made finding the right lens a bit tricky. I still keep my glasses on hand, when I know that I'm going to be doing a lot of reading or computer work. Like everyone else has suggested, I found that it really helps to have a good eye doctor. Don't be afraid to ask him/her questions, or use weird analogies to describe what you're feeling. When it comes to caring for your vision, it's always better to be safe than sorry.

Also, do NOT close your eyes for a long period time, unless you have the extended wear type of contact lenses. I'm not sure why this is bad (something about causing a corneal ulcer?), but my eye doctor just about hypnotized me by repeating it over and over during my last visit.

Also, this is probably not the case, but you might want to talk to your eye doctor about switching cleaning solutions. Some people have allergic reactions to certain formulas, and work better with others.

I hope this helps!
posted by invisible ink at 1:59 PM on May 13, 2004

YMMV. My eyes never adapted well to contacts, after more than 10 years of trying. LASIK is great, though.
posted by rushmc at 2:36 PM on May 13, 2004

I've just started wearing contacts again, after a gap of several years. Difference this time: I've officially joined the bifocals generation. So, for evening reading, I'm supplementing the contacts with low-power super-cheapie Walgreens reading glasses. The Mall eye doctor told me exactly what power would help me, and they're only about $15 (or $5, if you don't mind looking like your great-grandma).
posted by gimonca at 2:55 PM on May 13, 2004

I've always heard it explained that your eyes are basically getting used to a diminished oxygen intake ("breathability"). Just about everyone takes a little while for their eyes to adapt to the fact that their corneas are breathing through a plastic film, but most people do. (That's also supposed to be the cause for the neovascularization that some folks see, which would make sense--the eyes supposedly grow the new capillaries near the surface to take in more oxygen.)

In any case, it can definitely take a few days--most doctors will tell you to start just a few hours a day and build up. I've always found that taking them out (even the extended wear) when your eyes are tired is a good idea, so just don't push it.
posted by LairBob at 5:43 PM on May 13, 2004

First of all, are you wearing soft or hard contacts? If one is uncomfortable, you might ask the doc to try you on the other.
posted by Yelling At Nothing at 9:36 PM on May 13, 2004

If your eyes are ever red, go see someone immediately ...unless you just smoked too much weed.

What fuzz said - I got used to my lenses after a week, but I became sensitive to the glare of the sun. I use the monthly lenses, and I second that it is very important to clean them every day. A lack of care can cause chronic damage to your eyes.
posted by tcp at 7:39 AM on May 14, 2004

Thanks everyone. I want to stress that the contacts are not uncomfortable in the sense that I don't really know I am wearing them other than a increased tiredness which I suspect is just my eyes adjusting to their new saran wrap! I go back to the doc next week for a follow-up exam so I will be sure to discuss all of these issues with him.
posted by archimago at 11:47 AM on May 14, 2004

I find that I see better with my contacts than my glasses -- my dr says this is because the contacts are closer to your eyes -- and that switching back and forth causes me some eye strain. Just another thing to keep in mind...
posted by armacy at 1:46 PM on May 14, 2004

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