Why can I not wear contacts all of the sudden?

I wasn’t really sure if this qualified as a GQ or not, so feel free to move this thread if it’s not in the right place.

I’ve been wearing contact lenses since my sophomore year of high school (I’m not 23). I wear glasses some days as well, but my general habit was to wear contacts most days for most of the day and take them out in the evening a few hours before bed. The only problems I’ve ever had are when a lens has torn (unpleasant) or when I’ve accidentally fallen asleep with them in (also unpleasant).

Recently, however, my eyes seen unable to handle it. Over Thanksgiving, wearing my contacts for a day left my eyes extremely red and uncomfortable for a few days after. Last weekend I wore them (a new pair - I wear monthlies) without consequence, but last night the exact same thing happened when I tried to wear them - my eyes are extremely red and irritated this morning.

Just this past summer I lost my glasses and I wore contacts (same brand, same cleaning solution) from when I got up to when I went to bed for two solid months and never had a single problem. Now if I try to put them in before work in the morning, it simply irritates my eyes too much and I’m self-conscious that my eyes will wind up bloodshot at work.

Does anyone have any experience with this? Can my eyes just suddenly have become too sensitive to handle the lenses? Of course I’ll ask my optometrist next time I see him, but I thought I’d see if anyone else can tell me if I’m doing something wrong or if this is normal.

I wouldn’t wait until the next time you see your optometrist. I’d make an appointment with him/her or an ophthalmologist right away to make sure you don’t have a corneal ulcer or something similar.

Maybe they are just due for a really good cleaning.
That helps a lot!
I don’t know much about the disposable ones, as I wore the gas-permeable kind.
I agree with freckafree. Go see an Ophthalmologist, just to be safe.

It could be the lenses, or it could be your solution. Have you tried switching to a thimerosal free cleaner/soaker/wetter? It’ll be labeled “for sensitive eyes” or something like that. It’s the most common, but not the only, irritant in contact solution.

As for why you’d become sensitive to something now after years of use, that’s just how allergies/sensitivities work. You’re never allergic the first time - but over time, with enough exposure, you develop an allergy.

It could also be that your contact manufacturer started doing something slightly different with the shape or material of your contact and that’s giving you a problem. Going to your doctor for a different lens might help.

It’s also possible that you have one or more small scratches on your eyeball, and the contacts are irritating them and interfering with your healing process. Only a doctor can diagnose that for sure.

Or, unfortunately, it might just be that you can’t wear contacts anymore. My mother, after several decades as a contact lens wearer, has had to switch entirely to glasses. Her eyes build up protein deposits at an amazingly fast rate when she wears contacts, making them very uncomfortable and vision poor.

This happened to me, only worse. All of a sudden I couldn’t wear contacts at all (and you really don’t want to hear the details). It happened when I got a new version of the brand I’d been using, but when I tried going back to the old version that didn’t work either. The optometrist was mystified, since I was reacting mostly on the left side. Anyway I didn’t wear contacts for two years, until a new kind of lens came out, made of different material. I can wear them, but not all the time; I can only last about half a day before my eyes get tired and start getting red and sensitive.

My advice would be: quit wearing the contacts immediately, go see the eye doctor, and at the least give your eyes a rest for a few weeks. For the moment, don’t keep poking at it!

A similar thing happened to me a few years ago. I went to my eye doctor and he gave me some eye drop medication and told me to stop wearing my contacts for a while. The infection went away after a few months and I could wear my contacts again.

So to reiterate what others have said, I would strongly recommend that you go to see your eye doctor sooner rather than later. And wear your glasses until then.

I was hoping the “contact lens dude,” as I called her one time :smack: :), would check in.

Thanks for the advice, guys.

I think it’s more likely to be an allergy of some sort than an ulcer or scratch, since it seems unlikely to me that something like that would happen to both of my eyes to the same degree at the exact same time, but I’ll see someone about it this week, and certainly won’t be wearing the lenses in the meantime.

It could also be an infection or something also. Or, the contacts get some kind of build up on them that your eyes will no longer tolerate? You said you can wear really fresh ones, but not ones you’d been wearing much at all? Mention that to your eye doctor when you go in to see him, it will help point him to the cause of the problem I’d bet.