Are You Suffering From Contact Lens Intolerance?

by Lance Kugler, MD

Are you wearing contacts? Do you remember why you chose them for your vision correction in the first place? In our experience at Kugler Vision, most contact lens users give a couple of different reasons for choosing contacts: They didn’t like the way they looked in glasses; glasses weren’t appropriate for their hobbies, lifestyle or work; or they felt self conscious in their glasses. There is no denying that contact lens use is prevalent – about 30 million people in the U.S. choose them for their vision correction needs. But contacts have their limitations, even people who have worn them with no serious issue for years can develop problems that lead them to give them up. They, in essence, become contact lens intolerant.

What is Contact Lens Intolerance?

Contact lens intolerance is when contact lenses become uncomfortable enough for people to stop wearing them. The level of discomfort people experience can range from mild to severe, with symptoms including irritation (burning, stinging, grittiness) to significant dry eye, infections and even corneal abrasions and ulcers.

What contact lens users often forget is that contacts come with a risk of sight-threatening complications, meaning they can cause permanent vision loss. The fact is, contact lenses – all types of contact lenses – limit the amount of oxygen to the cornea, the surface of the eye. This is why diligence in wear, care and cleaning of contact lenses is required, as is getting medical advice for any symptoms or issues related to your eyes and vision when wearing them. Red, irritated eyes, ongoing dry eye symptoms, pain or swelling are not normal and shouldn’t be ignored.

With all this in mind, it isn’t all that surprising to learn that, over time, the appeal of contacts begins to decline for many users. News from a recent study of contact lens users reported that satisfaction with using contact lenses decreased significantly over a 3-year period; from 63 percent at the beginning of the study down to 54 percent after 3 years.

Know Your Options

So, if you find yourself either unable to keep up with the proper care, maintenance and hygiene routine for contacts or frequently experience symptoms of discomfort or irritation, you may be contact lens intolerant. If so, it might be time to consider your vision correction options, including LASIK.

Interestingly, the same study that showed a decline in satisfaction with vision from contact lenses also showed that people who used to use contacts, but then chose to have LASIK eye surgery, had a much higher level of satisfaction with their vision that only improved over time. So if you are concerned about contact lens intolerance, please click the button below to take our contact lens intolerance self-test and then come in for a thorough evaluation and let’s discuss what options are best for you and your vision. 

kugler vision doctor lance kugler

Lance Kugler, MD, is a specialist in vision correction surgery and CEO of Kugler Vision. A proud Omaha native, he is passionate about improving lives through clear vision. Dr. Kugler serves on several national boards, and his practice is recognized internationally as a center of excellence. Dr. Kugler is one of the original founders of the Refractive Surgery Alliance, an international organization comprised of over 350 of the world’s leading vision correction surgeons; he also served as its first president. In 2019, Dr. Kugler was selected as a TEDx speaker, and delivered a talk in Omaha about the worldwide epidemic of nearsightedness and refractive solutions. Dr. Kugler is an associate professor of Refractive Surgery at the University of Nebraska Medical Center’s Truhlsen Eye Institute, has been published in many medical journals, and participates in numerous clinical studies to advance the field of vision correction surgery. Dr. Kugler and his wife are proud parents to five active kids. When he has a spare moment, he enjoys skiing, tennis, travel, and fine coffee.

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