6 Major Reasons Why Your Contact Lenses Are Giving You Red Eyes

Contact lenses have been in the market for more than a century and their popularity hasn’t wavered a bit and there’s a good reason for that.

They are convenient to use, fulfill their medical and cosmetic purposes and are almost risk-free as long as you use them properly. All contact lenses come with contact lenses solution and case and if you follow the given instructions, you will be free from any eye infections.

That said, it is easy to forget and follow the instructions every time you use your lenses and this can be dangerous for your eyes. So, if you have every find yourself asking “Why are my eyes red after wearing contact lenses?” Here we share a few reasons why you may get red eyes while using contact lenses.

What is a Red Eye?

An individual is said to have a red eye when the sclera or the white portion of the eye becomes red or pink. It can range in severity from a few squiggly pink or red lines to the sclera being diffusely pink or red.

Red eye can either affect one eye or both the eyes. In most of the cases, a red eye is not accompanied by other symptoms, however, there are a few instances when a red eye is associated with a number of symptoms. These symptoms include:

  • Irritation and itching in the eye.
  • A burning sensation in the eye.
  • Swelling of the eye.
  • Sensitivity to light and blurred vision.
  • A red eye can be associated with either a dry eye or a watery/ sticky discharge.
  • The affected eye can be extremely painful

A red eye is generally caused by dilation of tiny blood vessels that are located between the sclera and the conjunctiva and this may occur due to a number of reasons in people who regularly wear contact lenses.

If you wear contact lenses and are suffering from red eyes, then you are in luck as we have compiled the top 6 reasons why contact lens wearers suffer from red eyes.

red eyes after wearing contacts first time

Contact Lens Induced Red Eye

Contact lens induced red eye is also known as C.L.A.R.E. All of us have normal bacteria that inhabit our body and either an excess of these bacteria or a break in the protective barrier of our eye causes these bacteria to enter the inner portion of the eye.

Once these bacteria enter the eye, they stick to the contact lens and release toxins. A build-up of these toxins ultimately leads to a red eye. Keep in mind that normally the toxins that are released by the bacteria are flushed away by the normal blinking of the eye.

This condition is commonly seen in contact lens wearers who either take long naps during the day or sleep over-night while wearing their lenses. Remember that all lenses should be disinfected after and prior to their next use with the contact lenses solution and case.

Giant Papillary Conjunctivitis

Giant papillary conjunctivitis is also known as GPC and is one of the most common causes of a red eye in contact lens users. As the name indicates, there is conjunctival irritation and inflammation as a result of contact lens use.

The irritation results in dilation of the blood vessels which leads to a typical red eye. It is not just the redness that bothers the sufferer but the individual also has severe itching in the eye.


It wouldn’t be fair if we don’t mention allergies and red eyes together. A person suffering from seasonal or regular allergies is bound to get red eyes especially if that person is wearing contact lenses.

The constant itching, rubbing and watering of eyes, as a result of the allergy, is unbearable and when the contact lenses act as a conduit for the causative allergens, the eye is sure to get severely affected. The allergens stick to the contact lens and exacerbate the allergy symptoms and worsen the condition.

Poorly Fitted Lenses

It is always recommended that you should get a prescription from your eye doctor, whether you are purchasing contact lenses for medical purposes or colored contact lenses for cosmetic purposes. The reason is that an eye doctor can help you select a pair of properly fitted contact lenses as an improperly fitted lens can affect the normal tear flow of the eye which in turn affects the oxygen saturation.

A tightly fitted lens greatly restricts the tear flow underneath the contact lens and reduces the oxygen flow to the cornea. This in turn causes a red eye associated with severe pain. A loose lens, on the other hand, tends to move as the person blinks and creates the sensation of a foreign body in the eye.

A defective lens scratches the eye and creates a fee-way for the bacteria to enter the eye and cause infections.

Corneal Ulcers

Contact lens wearers are susceptible to corneal ulcers, which is a very serious condition. Wearing contact lenses for an extended period of time can rub over the corneal surface creating a breach in the epithelial lining.

This breach is known as corneal ulcer and this usually ends up allowing bacteria to enter the eye and causing severe infections. These bacterial infections are associated with a red eye along with a sticky discharge, pain, and irritation.

Contact Lens Solution and Its Use

As mentioned earlier on, it is imperative that you use your contact lenses solution and case properly. All lenses come with a disinfecting solution and case. However, in some cases, the lens wearer may become allergic to the disinfecting solution leading to red eyes.

Keep in mind that an allergy can develop at any time, even if you have been using the same brand of disinfecting solution for a long time. In most of the cases, switching to another brand may help alleviate the condition although anti-allergy eye drops may be needed as well.

Eyes are the Window to One’s Soul! Always Make Sure You Use Your Contact Lenses Properly and Handle Them with Care!

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