If you are a regular user of contact lenses, you probably know that they can exacerbate eye irritation and complaints due to long-term use. However, in some people, the complaint is actually caused because they are allergic to the contact lens itself.
Allergic reactions can appear in various parts of the body, including the eyes. There are many things around you that can trigger an allergic reaction, and contact lenses can be one of them. Here are various signs, causes, and how to overcome them.
Causes of allergic contact lenses
An allergic reaction occurs when the body’s immune system overreacts to a foreign substance that is actually harmless. Although the basic mechanism is the same, a contact allergy is somewhat different from a dust, food, or other allergy allergy.
The contact lens is in direct contact with the eye so it must be made from medical standard materials that are hypoallergenic. Hypoallergenic products are designed so that they do not trigger an allergic reaction.
Therefore, most cases of contact lens allergy are not actually caused by the contact lens raw material itself, but rather various foreign substances that stick to the surface. Allergies that are triggered by the ingredients for making soft lenses are extremely rare.
Foreign substances on the surface of the contact lens can enter the bloodstream through the eyelids, then decompose in the body. The immune system perceives these substances as a danger, then attacks them, causing an allergic eye reaction.
Signs and symptoms of contact lens allergy
The characteristics of contact lens allergy are sometimes difficult to distinguish from dry eye or infection due to long-term use of contact lenses. The symptoms you experience are likely to be the same as eye allergy symptoms, namely:
In addition to common symptoms such as red and watery eyes, allergies due to contact lenses can also be characterized by other, less common symptoms. You should consult your doctor if you often experience certain complaints after using contact lenses.
There are also other eye disorders that can arise during the use of contact lenses, but are not caused by allergies. The following symptoms are not related to contact lenses and can indicate a more severe illness.
- Severe pain in the eye.
- Severe swelling of the eye or the area around it.
- Pus or other discharge from the eye.
- Blurred vision or complete loss.
- The skin of the eyelids is scaly or peeling.
If you experience one or more of the signs above, get your eyes checked by a doctor immediately. These symptoms can indicate an infection, injury, or other problem that needs to be treated immediately.
How to deal with contact lens allergies
The best way to deal with contact lens allergies is to stop using them. When the eye starts to feel uncomfortable, immediately remove the contact lens you are using. If you wear the contact lens any longer, this will only make the pain worse.
First of all, check the expiration date of your contact lens to ensure that the product is still safe to use. If the contact lenses you are using are out of date, throw them away immediately.
If your contact lenses haven’t expired, try removing them and wearing glasses for a few days to see if the symptoms subside. If your eye is getting better, there is a chance that the problem may be with contact lenses.
This is usually enough to reduce discomfort or pain. However, if the pain lasts for more than a day or a lump appears on the inside of your eyelid, get your eye checked by a doctor.
The doctor will perform allergy examinations and tests to determine whether your condition is caused by allergies. If the cause of allergies is true, you can treat it with over-the-counter drugs or with a doctor’s prescription.
The following types of drugs are commonly used to treat eye allergies:
- Artificial tears. Artificial tears help clear allergens that stick to the eyes and relieve complaints of itchy, red, and watery eyes.
- Antihistamines. Antihistamine drops can treat itching, red eyes, and swelling. However, there is a risk of side effects in the form of dry eyes.
- Decongestants. This medication is useful for treating itchy and red eyes, but should not be used for more than three days because it can worsen allergies.
- Corticosteroids. These drops can relieve symptoms of severe or long-lasting allergies. Its use must be prescribed by a doctor.
While using eye drops, you also need to avoid wearing contact lenses and switch to wearing glasses for a while. You may need additional treatment if the allergy is severe.
Can you prevent it?
Eye allergies cannot be prevented, but you can prevent allergic reactions due to lenses with a variety of simple steps.
- Always read and follow the directions for using the contact lens.
- Always dispose of the remaining liquid in the contact lens holder and replace it with a new one.
- Always close the soft lens holder and the bottle of the soft lens liquid tightly.
- Changing the brand of soft lens that is routinely used if allergies are exacerbated by soft lenses
- Using contact lenses from other materials.
- Clean the contact lens daily by rubbing it gently with your fingers for 30 seconds.
- Check for any dirt on the surface of the contact lens before wearing it.
- Try using disposable lenses to reduce the risk of infection and irritation.
- Change the contact lens every three months.
- Do not share contact lenses with others.
- Not using contact lenses too often.
Softlens play an important role for people who need them. However, this product can also cause new problems if you experience dry eyes, irritation, or even allergies to the ingredients in the contact lens.
Watch for signs such as red, itchy, or watery eyes after wearing contact lenses. Consult your doctor if these symptoms do not go away after a few days. You may need medication to overcome it.