Top 8 Tips for Allergies and Contact Lenses

Dr. Russel Lazarus, May 30, 2021
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Do you suffer from allergies, but also want to wear contact lenses?

Pollen is not the only cause of allergies that can affect your eyes and make wearing contact lenses uncomfortable. Dust, pet dander, smoke and mold can all cause allergic reactions in the eye. Luckily, there are easy ways to protect your eyes while maintaining comfort.

If you have allergies, also speak to your eye doctor about how you can reduce these annoying symptoms.

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Here are a few helpful tips to keep in mind.

1. Wear daily disposable lenses

Contact lenses attract allergens in the air. Not surprisingly, lenses worn for an entire month collect the most allergens and debris for the entire month.

However, disposable daily contact  lenses are only worn for one day only before being discarded, allowing allergens less time to accumulate.

Ask your eye doctor about the most suitable regular lenses for your eyes.

2. Minimize lens wear time

If your allergic reaction is very mild, you may still be able to wear your contacts during the allergy attack. However, consider reducing the amount of time you wear your lenses.

3. Temporarily wear glasses 

If your eyes are red, itchy and swollen from an allergy, it’s recommended to refrain entirely from wearing contact lenses. Glasses with transition lenses, which are clear when you are indoors and darken in sunlight, are ideal for this time.

4. Initiate a cleaning routine

Cleaning your contact lenses on a more regular basis will help keep them free of allergens. Some people are allergic to the preservatives in lens cleaning solutions, so be sure to use preservative-free solutions.

Ask your eye doctor about peroxide-based disinfectants, which have a more thorough cleaning effect.

5. Keep your eyes moist

To help keep your eyes from drying up or experiencing any additional discomfort, use artificial tears. Make sure they are preservative-free eye-drops; otherwise, you may experience an adverse reaction to the preservatives.

Ask your eye doctor for specific eye drops that can be used with contact lenses.

6. Use hypoallergenic makeup

Pay attention to the types of cosmetics you apply around your eyes. Moisture particles from tears or sweat can bring makeup in contact with the eye’s surface.

To decrease allergic reactions, use hypoallergenic creams and cosmetics.

7. Take anti-allergy medications

While antihistamines (anti-allergy medications) can help with an allergy attack, they often cause dry eye and may, therefore, intensify symptoms.

Consult your eye doctor if you are taking antihistamines.

8. Inform your eye doctor

It’s best to let your eye doctor know if you have any allergies at the time of your eye exam. They will advise you on which type of lenses are more suited to your sensitive eyes, which products to use and how to care for your lenses.

There is no reason you should go through unnecessary suffering with your contact lenses just because you also have allergies.

Schedule an appointment with an eye doctor near you so that you can receive the care and information you need to manage your allergies and contacts all year long.