Q. Whenever I wear contact lenses, I wake up with redness in the left eye. Why?

Answered by
Dr. Asha Juliet Barboza
and medically reviewed by Dr. Lochana
This is a premium question & answer published on Nov 05, 2020 and last reviewed on: May 18, 2021

Hi doctor,

I started to develop an issue after wearing contact lenses. I am an occasional wearer (typically two to three times per week) and wear monthly. Over the last month, whenever I have worn my contacts, I wake up with redness or conjunctivitis in my left eye. I have worn contacts once a week this month, and it has happened every time, no matter how short period I wore them the previous day. No irritation is evident until after a night's sleep. I have tried a new pair of contacts, a new solution, new contact case. The issues were resolved in 12 to 24 hours. Please help.



Welcome to

Thanks for your query. How many years have you been wearing contact lenses? If it has been a long time, over ten years or so, you will likely start to develop intolerance to lenses. The protein deposits that accumulate on the lenses can cause a reaction to the eyelids' undersurface called a papillary reaction. Since you are an occasional user, you might try switching to daily disposable lenses. You need to wear them on that day and throw them out at the end of the day. That way, you are not exposed to the protein accumulation on lenses. Buy a few sets of lenses first to test whether you react to those as well. Instead, stay off the lenses for a week or two to give the eyes time to settle down. Next, you might require a mild anti-inflammatory eye drop for a week to hasten the recovery process before you attempt to wear the lenses again. Finally, use lubricating eye drops before and after you use the lenses if you decide to wear them again. Your other options are refractive surgery like LASIK (laser-assisted in situ keratomileuses). I hope this helps.

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