Why do contact lenses make allergies worse?

Did you know that the Alamo City ranked as the seventh-worst city for allergies in the U.S.? On a 100-point scale in which a higher score will land a city among the worst, San Antonio received a score of 87.21.

And for those people that wear contact lenses and suffer from contact lens intolerance or CLI, it can make their condition even worse. CLI is defined as an inability to wear contact lenses without pain or irritation. It can be a temporary condition from irritated or allergy-inflamed eyes, or a more permanent problem, causing the contact lens wearer to give up on them completely.

A vast swath of our population suffers from allergies, and the pollen and dander that causes inflammation in their eyes can cause significant issues with your lenses. It can actually prolong your allergies as the moist surfaces of contact lenses allow allergens such as spores, pollens, and dust to stick to them, and rubbing pushes those allergens into your eyes. Allergens such as dust and pollen can also build up on your contact lenses over time. So, those with contact lens intolerance find it becomes worse during allergy season – increasing the pain and discomfort in contact lenses.

Identifying allergy-related contact lens intolerance isn’t hard. Itching, burning, and redness, especially during allergy season, are all hallmark signs of allergy-related contact lens intolerance.

When Your Allergies Get in the Way of Your Lenses

If you have allergies, then consider that contact lenses might not be the best option for you. Here are a few suggestions that may help:

Try really cleaning lenses: Eye irritation during allergy season is often from a build-up of allergens on your contact lenses. All of those eye irritating particles love to hang out on your contact lenses. Rigorously cleaning your contact lenses, often multiple times a day (especially when outdoors) can provide temporary relief.

Try different lenses: It’s common for allergies to cause eye irritation, but they do not always lead to CLI. It may depend on what type of contact lens material you’re trying, how often you wear them, and anything else going on with your health. Different brands of lenses may allow more oxygen to pass through and around the lens resulting in less irritation.

Try antihistamine drops: Anti-allergy eye drops can reduce irritation from allergies but be sure to check to make sure the brand you’re using is compatible with your contact lenses. Remember that it may take a few minutes for the eye drops to take effect, so remove your contacts and give your eyes a break (wear your glasses!) until you’re not feeling any more irritation.

Try daily contacts. During pollen season, wear daily contact lenses. They can quickly be taken off and disposed of before they accumulate enough pollen and other allergens to cause problems.

Say Goodbye to Allergy-Driven Contact Lens Irritation

Try Eye Surgery. One of the best solutions to seeing your way clearly, even during allergy season, is to eliminate contact lens intolerance completely with SMILE laser vision correction.

With over four million SMILE LASIK procedures performed worldwide, SMILE is quickly becoming the new standard in laser vision correction. Parkhurst NuVision is The entire treatment is completed in under 30 seconds, and most patients return to work the next day. The agonizing symptoms of allergy-related contact lens intolerance are immediately gone, and there is no wait time for resuming your daily activities.

The Best Time to Get SMILE

Get ahead of the game! Mountain cedar fever starts in December and usually lasts through March. But that’s when tree pollen kicks into high gear, then of course followed by grass and weed pollen. Oh, the joys of living in Texas! But we seriously wouldn’t want to live anywhere else! Now is the time to take care of your CLI and get relief from those irritable contacts.

For more information about SMILE LASIK and other procedures that eliminate the need for contacts and glasses, take our self test , call Parkhurst NuVision at (210) 585-2020 or click here to schedule a consultation.