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Home » News » Why Do Your Contacts Feel So Scratchy?

Why Do Your Contacts Feel So Scratchy?


8 reasons for scratchy, painful vision with contact lenses

Most of the time, you insert your contact lenses, blink a few times and go on with your day in comfort. Yet sometimes, it can feel as if your contacts are made from steel wool instead. Why does this happen?

When patients visit our eye care centers in Lee's Summit, Clinton, Sedalia, and Warrensburg, Missouri, complaining that their contact lenses are killing them, we perform an eye exam to diagnose the root of the problem. Here are some of the most common reasons for scratchy, painful contact lenses:


If you suffer from allergies to pollen, mold, dust mites, or pet dander, interaction with these triggers will prompt your immune system cells to emit chemicals that cause your symptoms, such as itchy, uncomfortable eyes. If you wear contact lenses, the symptoms will only be worse. That’s because contacts trap the irritating allergens against your eyeballs. After a few days of wearing contacts (not daily disposables), especially if you’re not super-responsible about following a proper cleansing and disinfection routine, the allergens build up on the surface of your contact lenses.

Makeup residue

When flecks of makeup get trapped on or beneath your contact lenses, it can cause scratchiness. One way to prevent this is by putting on eye makeup after inserting your contact lenses, reducing the chance that any cosmetics can slip under your contacts. It’s also a smart idea to purchase products that don’t flake or smudge easily.

Dry eye syndrome

Dry eye results when your eyes can’t moisturize themselves sufficiently, either due to inadequate tear production or poor tear composition. Classic symptoms of dry eye syndrome include itchiness, scratchiness, redness, and stinging. Add contact lenses on top of dry eyes, and your symptoms will usually worsen. The best way to deal with this problem is by getting the most effective, personalized dry eye treatment. Visit our eye doctors in Lee's Summit, Clinton, Sedalia, and Warrensburg, Missouri, for a specialized dry eye exam to determine the best therapies to relieve your condition.

Inflamed cornea

An inflammation of your cornea can occur because of a bacterial infection, fungi, viruses, or even from a parasite in your eye. Officially called keratitis, this condition can also be caused by wearing contact lenses for too long. Medical attention is needed to treat keratitis; book an eye exam for a diagnosis and treatment.

Something is stuck on your contact lens

Eye scratchiness can be a sign that something is stuck under or on your contact lenses. If the offensive item is on top of your contact, it can cause irritation inside your eyelid. Removing your contact lenses and cleaning them will usually solve the problem.

Corneal abrasion/scratch

A corneal scratch usually feels gritty and painful. Sometimes, putting a contact lens over the abrasion will irritate your eye even more. Minor scratches usually heal on their own within a few days, but you may want to visit our eye doctor in Lee's Summit, Clinton, Sedalia, and Warrensburg, Missouri, for an immediate eye exam to make sure the site isn’t getting infected.


What’s blepharitis? It refers to when your eyelids are swollen. The cause can be allergies, a bacterial infection, or even dry eye. But whatever the culprit, blepharitis can lead to scratchy and stinging eyes, especially when you’re wearing contact lenses.

Bad fitting contact lenses

Contact lenses are not one-size-fits-all. If you’re wearing the wrong size, it can seriously irritate your eyes.

Book an Eye Exam to Find the Cause of Scratchy Eyes

As you can see, there’s a wide variety of reasons for scratchy eyes when wearing contact lenses. To resolve the problem and relieve your pain, you need to diagnose the cause. The best way to do that is by visiting our eye doctor at Eyecare Specialties for an eye exam in Lee's Summit, Clinton, Sedalia, and Warrensburg, Missouri.

At Eyecare Specialties, we put your family's needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 816-317-0012 or book an appointment online to see one of our Lee's Summit eye doctors.

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