Why are your contacts so dry? 7 possible causes

Why are your contacts so dry? 7 possible causes

Have you ever asked yourself, “why do contacts make my eyes dry?”. Dryness and redness while wearing contact lenses can indicate several issues, from simple irritation to eye discharge. Contact lenses are a foreign entity in your eye and can cause problems if not addressed. If you develop dry eyes while wearing contact lenses, pay attention to this warning sign, as it may be a symptom of a much more serious affliction.

Dry Eye Syndrome

Why do my eyes get dry with contacts? Well, consider this: contact lenses soak up liquid. If you don’t produce adequate lubrication via tears, that can be a real problem. Dry eyes only worsen as the day progresses, causing itchiness, redness, and general discomfort. If your eyes get extremely dry, you may have to remove your contacts after a few hours of wear. In this case, you may want to consider switching contact lenses. The best contacts for dry eyes are those specifically designed to keep your eyes moist. See how to fix dry eyes from contacts to find out what you can do to alleviate dry eyes.

Contact solution sensitivity

The reason why your contacts are so dry could be, surprisingly, your contact solution! Perhaps you’ve recently switched brands or are using the same one but have started having problems. This can be an allergy, sensitivity, or the solution may not be removing deposits that build up on your lenses over time, causing red, itchy eyes and overall discomfort.

Eye allergies

Allergies can wreak havoc on people who wear contacts resulting in their contacts feeling dry during the spring and fall. In addition to allergies causing redness and itchiness, your contacts may trap and hold irritating particles, such as pollen, further aggravating the problem.

Poorly fitting contacts

Contacts that don’t fit right can irritate the eye. Too tight, they can restrict the tear flow underneath, drying out the cornea and restricting oxygen. Too loose, they can move with every blink, further irritating the cornea. Make sure to have your optometrist fit your lenses for happy eyes.

Giant Papillary Conjunctivitis

A more problematic issue is Giant Papillary Conjunctivitis (GPC). This is inflammation caused by something foreign, such as a contact lens, in the eye. Contacts can irritate the surface of the conjunctiva, making your eyes red, watery, bloodshot, and irritated.

Corneal Ulcer

The leading cause of Corneal Ulcers is infections. The first symptom is often red, dry eyes leading to open sores on your cornea. It can lead to severe complications, including scarring, reduced vision, and even blindness. It initially feels like something is in your eye, and you may notice increased light sensitivity, tearing, and irritation. If you notice these symptoms, you should consider it a medical emergency and see a professional at once.


Contact lens-induced red eye, or CLARE, is caused by toxins produced by typical bacteria found in your eyes. While these toxins are usually flushed by blinking. Wearing contact lenses during sleep can allow these toxins to build up, resulting in red, dry eyes, irritation, and general discomfort. It is recommended to discontinue lens wear for at least 24 hours. However, if redness or irritation continues, you should see your optometrist.

Still curious about how your contacts affect your eyes? Check out our DOs and DON’Ts of Wearing Contacts!

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