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Allergic to Your Contact Lenses? Here’s What to Do

Blue eye

An allergic reaction is an autoimmune response to a perceived foreign entity entering your body. Your immune system is attempting to reject an innocuous substance it deems harmful. The thing about allergies that a lot of people don’t realize is that they can develop at any time. You can eat peanut brittle all your life and then one day take a bite and break out in hives. So, even if you’ve been wearing contact lenses for decades, you could still potentially develop an allergy down the road.

Symptoms of Contact Lens Allergies

The only real way to be certain you’ve developed an allergy to contact lenses is to visit an eye clinic in Victoria, BC. That said, there are a number of signs that can indicate you have an allergy. Symptoms in and around the eyes include:

  • Itchiness

  • Redness

  • Swelling or puffiness

  • Excessive dryness

  • Tearing

  • Unusual discharge

  • Heavy-feeling lids

  • Discomfort when wearing contacts

Potential Associated Causes

Though you may very well be allergic to the lenses themselves, there are a couple of other possibilities your optometrist will want to rule out. The first—and very common—scenario is that you’ve developed an allergy not to your contacts but to the solution you use to clean them. Some solvents contain a preservative called thimerosal, which has been shown to instigate an allergic response in many users. Even solutions that don’t contain this particular ingredient can still be composed of other chemicals that trigger an autoimmune response. The other possibility is that you’re reacting to a buildup of proteins that were secreted by your eye and attached themselves to your lenses.


The very first thing your optometrist will tell you is to stop wearing your contacts, at least until your eyes have fully recuperated. Afterwards, there are a few options you and your eye doctor may wish to explore, depending on your particular circumstances. You may need to:

  • Improve your contact cleaning regimen

  • Use a hypoallergenic cleansing solution

  • Switch the brand of contacts you use

  • Use disposable contacts that you wear for a day and then toss

  • Take medication to reduce allergic reactions

  • Restrict the amount of time you spend wearing contact lenses

The Importance of Consulting an Optometrist

Before resuming the use of your contact lenses, it’s critical to gain the input of a trusted eye care professional in Victoria, BC. The Victoria Optometric Association can help you locate a qualified doctor in your area. Simply use our directory to find an optometrist near you.


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