There’s a lot of misinformation out there about contacts and cloudy vision. In this article, we’ll explain why contacts cause cloudy vision and how you can get back to seeing clearly.
Contacts can sometimes cause cloudy vision due to the following reasons:
- Debris on the contact
- Eye dryness
- Lens movement or rotation
- Prescription changes
- Eye health problems
- Contact lens solution issues
Causes of Blurry Vision When Wearing Contact Lenses
While contact lenses can be beneficial for many people, they do come with certain risks that may cause blurry vision. These are the most common causes of blurry vision due to contact lenses:
Debris on the Contact Lens
A dirty lens can increase the risk of infection, irritation, and blurring of vision. Between 40 and 90 percent of contact lens wearers do not follow care instructions properly, which puts them at risk for complications.
The more often you clean and replace your lenses, the less likely they are to grow bacteria, which can lead to cloudy vision problems.
If your eyes are dry due to allergies, it can make your vision blurry when you wear contacts.
Make sure you use over-the-counter eye drops designed for contact lens wearers. Try using lubricating eye drops before putting in your lenses.
You should also keep an eye on how much water you drink throughout the day. Dehydration can lead to dry eyes and a need for more frequent contact lens cleaning. If you still have dry eyes after using artificial tears, talk with your eye doctor about other treatment options.
Lens Movement or Rotation
If you move around a lot while wearing contacts, it’s possible that they might rotate on your cornea and cause blurring of vision. This can be caused by blinking too much, getting jostled during sports, rubbing your eyes, or blinking forcefully because of dryness or irritation.
Consider wearing sports goggles to protect your eyes while doing any activity with a risk of injuries, such as boxing or martial arts training classes.
Your prescription is the strength of your lenses, which can change over time as your eyes age. If you’re getting older and your eyes are changing, this may cause your vision to seem blurrier when you put in your old contacts.
If this happens, just head back to the doctor and have them check out what’s going on with your prescription. It might just need adjusting.
Eye Health Problems
Eye health problems like dry eye and allergies can cause blurry vision when wearing contacts. If you have these conditions, it’s important that you see an eye doctor right away. They can help treat them, so these issues don’t interfere with your vision while wearing contacts.
If you’re experiencing symptoms like itching or burning in your eyes, talk to your optometrist about treatments that can help clear up the issue.
Contact Lens Solution
Another common cause of cloudy vision with contact lenses is not using proper lens care solutions. If your contact lens solution is too strong for your eyes, it may cause problems with your vision when you wear your contacts.
You must choose an appropriate solution based on the materials and type of contacts you wear so your eyes don’t become irritated or inflamed by the chemicals used in the solution.
Symptoms of Cloudy Vision
If you’re experiencing a cloudy vision, there’s a good chance that your contacts are to blame.
The symptoms of cloudy vision can be caused by various factors, some more serious than others. If you notice any of the following symptoms, it’s important to visit your eye doctor immediately for an examination:
- Sensitivity to light: Your eyes may be sensitive to light or even feel like they’re burning.
- Discomfort: You may experience pain in your eyes or pressure behind the eyes.
- Feeling like something is in your eye: This symptom may make it difficult to read or do other close-up tasks.
- Blurred vision: This symptom can make it hard for you to see and perform tasks such as driving or reading.
In most cases, these symptoms are temporary and will clear up on their own within a few hours or days. However, if your symptoms persist or worsen over time, they may indicate a more serious problem with your vision.
If you experience cloudy vision for more than two weeks without improvement, contact your eye doctor for an evaluation. If you ever experience a sudden change in vision, see your eye doctor as soon as possible.
How to Fix Cloudy Vision Related to Contacts
The first step to fixing clouded vision is ensuring your contact lenses are clean and debris-free. If they are, it’s time to check your prescription. Your doctor may need to adjust the prescription of your contacts, so they fit more snugly on your eyes.
If these steps don’t solve the problem, other solutions can help clear up the cloudy vision. Try these:
- Get an eye exam. Make sure to get an eye exam from your eye doctor or optometrist as soon as possible to determine what’s causing your cloudy vision and how to treat it. Your doctor may prescribe artificial tears for dry eyes or suggest other treatments for your condition.
- Use over-the-counter artificial tears or lubricants. You may need to use artificial tears or lubricant eye drops several times a day until you see improvement in your symptoms.
- Make sure you’re using the right contact lens solution for your contacts. Some solutions have more additives than others, which can lead to cloudier vision if they aren’t compatible with your eyesight (or if they’re not being used properly).
- Replace your contact lens case monthly. This is one of the easiest ways to prevent clouding in your vision. Over time, moisture and other particles will build up in your lens case. This can cause cloudy vision if it isn’t cleaned regularly. Make sure you replace your case at least once per month.
- Avoid sleeping in your lenses. Sleeping with contacts on increases the risk of infection and reduces their lifespan. It can also cause blurry vision when you wake up.
Vision Problems Related to Cloudy Vision
Certain vision problems can contribute to cloudy vision, such as these:
- Glaucoma: This is an eye disease that damages the optic nerve, which links your eye to your brain. The loss of retinal cells or nerve cells can lead to glaucoma, which makes it difficult for you to see clearly.
- Cataracts: This condition causes clouded vision that may be permanent or temporary depending on the type of cataract you have and its severity.
Cataracts are usually caused by aging. They occur when proteins clump together in front of your lens, causing it to become cloudy, as an un-cleaned camera lens would be after taking pictures in bright sunlight for too long. The only cure for a cataract is surgical removal.
- Macular degeneration: Macular degeneration is a disease that causes blurred central vision due to damage in the macula — an area at the back of your retina that is responsible for sharp central vision, which is needed for reading and driving.
There are two types: dry macular degeneration and wet macular degeneration.
- Eye infection: If you have a bacterial or viral infection, it could cause your eyes to water and make your vision hazy. An eye infection will usually cause redness and itchiness in addition to cloudiness.
If you suspect an eye infection, see an optometrist or ophthalmologist immediately.
- Dry eye syndrome: This condition is another common cause of blurry vision that can last for weeks or even months. It occurs when the tear glands don’t produce enough tears to keep your eyes moist enough for clear sight.
Dry eye syndrome can also occur if you spend too much time indoors or in front of computer screens or other devices with bright light. An eye doctor will be able to best advise you on how to address your situation.
If any of these conditions are present, they are likely contributing to your cloudy vision even if you wear contacts. Consult your eye doctor to pinpoint the cause of your cloudy vision and how to proceed.
Cloudy Contact Lenses FAQs
How do I know if my contact lenses are cloudy?
You can tell if your contact lenses are cloudy by looking at them in natural light. If they have a milky or white film on them, they’re probably cloudy. You can also check the inside of the lens to see if it looks foggy or hazy.
What are the main causes of cloudy contact lenses?
The most common cause of cloudy contact lenses is inadequate cleaning and disinfection. If you use tap water to clean your contact lenses, you may notice cloudiness or film on your lenses. Only clean and store your lenses in contact lens solution.
What should I do if my contacts cause cloudy vision?
If your contacts are causing cloudy vision, it’s important to see an eye doctor as soon as possible so they can determine whether it’s caused by a corneal infection, dry eye syndrome, or something else entirely.
Does contact lens aftercare help minimize the risk of blurry vision?
Yes, it can. Contact lens wearers are advised to keep their eyes moist and clean by regularly using prescribed contact lens solutions. This will help to keep your eyes hydrated, which helps prevent dryness that can lead to blurry vision.
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Contact Lens Care. American Optometric Association.
Blurred Vision. (July 2022). Health Direct.
Protect Your Eyes. (August 2021). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Complications of Contact Lenses. (May 2021). JAMA Network.
Corneal Infections Associated with Sleeping in Contact Lenses — Six Cases, United States, 2016–2018. (August 2018). Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
Last Updated November 1, 2022
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