What Are the Symptoms of an Eye Infection from Contacts?

Disposable contact lenses are simply thrown out and do not need to be cleaned.
Eye pain and redness may be symptoms of an eye infection from contacts.
An eye infection can occur regardless of the type of contact being worn.
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  • Written By: Vanessa Harvey
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 19 September 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
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Symptoms of eye infection from contacts include, but are not limited to, eye redness; watering of the eyes; changes in sight, such as blurred vision; eye discharge; and eye pain. People who wear contact lenses and experience any of the aforementioned signs and symptoms are strongly advised to consult their doctor as soon as possible. Eye infections not only jeopardize a person's sight, they can be highly contagious, spreading from person to person and from infected eye to uninfected eye. The consultation should first be with a general practitioner, sometimes referred to as a doctor of internal medicine or with one's eye doctor.

There are various types of contact lenses, and some types are considered superior to others when it comes to lowering the risks of eye infection from contacts. Gas-permeable contacts, for example, supposedly allow the eye to "breathe" in order to reduce the chances of developing problems. Disposable contact lenses also are generally considered safer because they do not have to be cleaned, but the symptoms of an eye infection can be experienced regardless of the type of lenses a person wears.

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It should be remembered that bacteria, viruses, fungi and foreign bodies in the eye are frequently the things that cause eye infections in general. Contact lenses of any kind certainly can be thought of as a "foreign body" that is not only an object in the eye but also can be a contributor to the creation of a favorable environment for the growth of bacteria and viruses. Although the signs and symptoms of eye infection from contact lenses can be experienced by people who do not wear contacts, they are almost always caused by the contacts themselves in people who wear them.

Some of the same signs and symptoms of eye infection can be experienced in cases of conjunctivitis, an inflammation of the conjunctiva. Infectious conjunctivitis is very contagious, and people who wear contacts are at a higher risk of developing the condition. "Pink eye" is the term most often used by healthcare providers as well as laypeople to refer to conjunctivitis that is brought on by bacteria or viruses. To keep from experiencing the signs and symptoms of eye infection from contacts, it is advisable for wearers to faithfully follow all precautions given for the specific type of contacts used, and they should not be worn while sleeping unless absolutely necessary.

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Discuss this Article

anon307807
Post 7

I had been wearing lenses for the past year and everything was fine until I developed such symptoms like eye redness, tearing, discomfort which indicate eyes infection.

I consulted my optometrist, stopped wearing lenses and have been taking three types of eyes medication for the past month and a half, but the specialist still finds a severe infection even though, to his surprise, I had no more symptoms immediately after taking medication. Now I have to take a break for two weeks without medication and see how it goes because my optometrist has nothing more to prescribe.

I know that I shouldn't expect to wear lenses again any time soon and I'm worried that now after I've stopped taking medicine my symptoms will come back. Any ideas how to fight my eye infection?

SkyWhisperer
Post 6

@David09 - I’ve worn them for years. Personally, I think you should have given them a second shot. It takes awhile to learn how to clean them and put them in properly, and your eye has to get used to them and quit “thinking” of them as foreign bodies, as the article points out. After that, you should not get conjunctivitis or any other eye diseases anymore.

David09
Post 5

I am not a contacts wearer. I tried them for several months, and was never skillful in putting them in. Sometimes my morning routine would take me fifteen minutes or more. That’s how clumsy I was.

I stopped wearing them after I developed pink eye symptoms, which developed into full blown conjunctivitis. Up until that time I didn’t even know what pink eye was until the symptoms developed and it was diagnosed as such by a doctor.

I called it quits then. For me, the eye is the most precious and sensitive part of the body. I decided I wasn’t going to take any more risks with contacts after that.

I just wear my nerdy glasses, which have done me well for the past thirty years, with no infections as side effects.

SarahSon
Post 4

My sister is an eye doctor, and I have heard her talk many times about how careless people can be with their contact lenses.

This frustrates her as she knows how important it is we take good care of our eyes.

She says she has seen more eye infections from disposable, soft contacts than from those who wear the hard or gas permeable lenses.

Because the soft lenses are so soft and pliable, people often leave them in too long. They also get careless about cleaning them on a regular basis.

She once showed me some pictures of eye infections, and those were enough to motivate me to clean my contacts regularly.

sunshined
Post 3

I used to work for a company that dispensed contact lenses. Part of my job was to help people learn how to insert them and take them out.

This also included instructions on how to treat and clean your contact lenses to prevent getting an eye infection.

Most people followed the instructions, but there were always those people who seldom cleaned their lenses. These were the ones who seemed to get the eye infections. Sometimes people would fall asleep with their contacts in and end up getting an infection.

The only positive thing about getting a contact lens eye infection, is that the eye heals faster than any other part of your body.

Usually if the infection is not very bad, it can easily be cleared up in a couple of days. Keeping your lenses clean is probably the single most important thing you can do to prevent an infection.

panda2006
Post 2

Another problem with contact lenses is that other eye problems can be harder to detect sometimes. I have a really high prescription, and my eye doctor has warned me several times about the risk I have of getting a detached retina. The problem is that the early symptoms, including blurred vision, are very similar to the symptoms of eye infection, and treatment is even more important; getting to a doctor if you have a detached retina is an urgent issue.

So really, I would say if you ever have more than minute or two of blurry vision, get to a hospital. I would rather overreact with eyes than have chronic eye infection, potential blindness, or worse.

Denha
Post 1

I have had contact lenses or ten years and so far have not had any sort of problem from them. I did once get a stye in my eye, but that is not unusual for anyone to get, whether they wear contact lenses or glasses or nothing at all.

I would say that something more easily solved which can cause some of the same symptoms is a ripped contact. It's easy to not notice little rips and tears in a lens, but that can give you headaches and blurred vision too. So can wearing contacts for too long; disposables are only supposed to be worn for a month or so. If you clean them well they might last six weeks or so, but beyond that is really pushing it.

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