Can Contact Lenses Scratch Your Eye?

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Have you ever experienced a sharp, stinging sensation in your eye while wearing contact lenses?

Hopefully not. But if you have, it’s possible that contact lenses scratched your eye.

In this blog post, we’ll discuss how contacts can scratch your eyes, how to tell if you have accidentally scratched your eyes, and the steps you can take to avoid doing so in the future.

How Contact Lenses Can Scratch Your Eyes

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Contact lenses are designed to be comfortable and safe, but sometimes things can go wrong. 

One common issue is when lenses get damaged or contaminated. This can cause them to scratch the surface of your eye. 

Even small particles like dust or debris trapped under the lens can lead to irritation and scratches.

Another way contacts can scratch your eyes is through improper handling. 

If you don’t wash your hands before touching your lenses, or if you don’t clean and store your lenses properly, bacteria and dirt can accumulate. This can cause scratches and — worse — eye infections.

When contact lenses are too tight or too loose, they can also move around in your eye and rub against the cornea. This friction can result in tiny, painful scratches that may lead to further damage if not addressed properly.

How to Tell if Your Contact Lens Is Damaged

Torn or damaged contact lenses are often the culprit behind a scratched eye. Therefore, being able to tell if your contact lens is damaged is key to preventing eye scratches. Here are some tips to remember:

  • Check your lenses carefully before wearing them. If you notice any tears, rips, or jagged edges, the lens is damaged.
  • Experiencing unusual discomfort, pain, or a persistent foreign body sensation while wearing your lenses could indicate damage.
  • Damaged lenses can distort your vision. If your vision is blurry or unclear even after cleaning the lenses, they might be damaged.

Be wary as well of contact lens deposits. Sometimes, lenses may accumulate deposits that don’t come off with regular cleaning. These deposits can scratch your eyes. This is why it’s important to replace your contact lenses as scheduled.

Can Eye Scratches From Wearing Contacts Cause Permanent Damage?

It depends on the severity of your injury.

Most of the time, eye scratches caused by contact lenses are typically minor and heal on their own within a few days.

In rare cases, however, untreated or severe scratches might cause lasting damage to your eye or lead to infection. Either way, your vision will likely be affected.

It’s important to seek medical attention if you experience significant pain, prolonged redness, or vision changes after accidentally scratching your eye with a contact lens. Early intervention can prevent complications and ensure your eyes stay in good shape.

Signs You Have Scratched Your Eyes

It’s easy to tell when you’ve scratched your eyes. Watch out for the following signs:

  • Pain or discomfort
  • Sensation that you have something in your eye
  • Red or bloodshot eyes
  • Excessive tearing or watery eyes
  • Increased light sensitivity
  • Blurry or hazy vision
  • Gritty sensation in your eye

If you notice any of these signs, remove your contacts and seek appropriate care.

How to Avoid Scratching Your Eyes With Contact Lenses

Preventing eye scratches caused by contact lenses involves a few careful practices that ensure your lenses remain clean and in good condition. 

First, always wash your hands thoroughly before handling your lenses. This minimizes the risk of transferring dirt, debris, or bacteria to your lenses, which can cause irritation and scratches.

Proper lens care is equally important. 

Make sure to clean your lenses as instructed by your eye care professional. When cleaning your lenses, always use the recommended cleaning solutions; never tap water or saliva. Also, replace your contacts as recommended, whether they are daily, bi-weekly, or monthly disposables. Do not attempt to wear your contacts past their intended use period as doing so can lead to complications beyond minor abrasions.

Another crucial step is ensuring your lenses fit properly. As we discussed earlier, poorly fitting lenses can move around on your eye. This can cause friction and lead to potential scratches. Regular check-ups with your eye care provider can help ensure your lenses are the correct fit and prescription.

Also, avoid wearing your contacts while sleeping unless they are specifically designed for overnight wear. Sleeping in lenses not intended for extended or overnight wear can lead to decreased oxygen supply to your cornea and increase the risk of scratches and infections.

And be mindful of environmental factors. Exposing your lenses to dusty or smoky environments can introduce debris to your eyes.

How to Treat a Scratched Eye

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If you suspect that you’ve scratched your eye, avoid rubbing your eye to prevent further irritation. Instead, blink several times. This may help remove small particles. You can also pull your upper eyelid over your lower eyelid to make your eye tear and naturally flush out any foreign particles.

You can then rinse your eye with clean water or a saline solution to further flush out anything that may be causing discomfort.

Unless specifically recommended by a healthcare professional, avoid using over-the-counter eye drops as these might cause further irritation. Instead, keep your eyes closed and give them time to heal naturally. If the pain persists or your vision is affected, seek medical attention promptly.

To avoid making your injury worse, do not try to remove anything embedded in your eye. Do not try to touch your eye with cotton swabs or tweezers, and avoid wearing contact lenses while your eye is healing.

Remember: while minor scratches may heal on their own, significant damage can lead to serious complications if not treated properly.

Wrapping Up

Contact lenses can scratch your eye, and these scratches can become severe or cause lasting damage if left untreated. Therefore, taking preventative measures is crucial for maintaining eye health. Always handle your lenses with care, and if you experience any persistent symptoms of a scratched eye, seek professional help immediately.