Eye Health Central

Blurry Vision With Contact Lenses

Why Is My Vision Blurry With My Contact Lenses

You don't expect your vision to be blurry when you are wearing contact lenses, but this can happen, and when it does it is easy to think there is something wrong with your contact lenses, but this is not necessarily the case. There could be numerous reasons why your vision is blurred whilst wearing your contact lenses.

In this article, we will help you determine if it is your lenses that are blurry and what you can do to improve and clear your vision.

To help determine what is causing your blurred vision it will help if you ask yourself a few questions first

  • When did you first notice your vision was blurred?
  • Is your vision only blurred when you are wearing contact lenses?
  • Is the blurred vision in one eye or both?
  • Did the blurring come on quickly or has it been worsening over a few hours or days?
  • Are you experiencing any eye irritability or discomfort?
  • Are your eyes red or weepy?

These questions will help decide whether your contact lenses or something else is causing your blurred vision

Blurred vision with contact lenses can be broken down into two categories

  1. Blurred vision caused by wearing contact lenses
  2. Blurred vision not caused by wearing contact lenses 

Depending on whether your contact lenses are causing blurred vision or there's some other reason for your blurred vision will alter what you need to do to correct the problem, let's look at both options.

Blurred vision or Dirty lenses?

Blurred Vision Caused By Contact Lenses

To check if your blurred vision is due to your contact lenses or not, remove your lenses, put on your regular glasses, and assess your vision. If you have blurred vision with your contact lenses but see clearly with your glasses, then it is most likely your lenses are causing the problem, there could be a few reasons for this

  • Dirty Lenses
    This is one of the most common causes of blurry vision whilst wearing contact lenses. 
    It is easy to check if this is the reason. First, wash and dry your hands, then remove a lens, whilst it is on your finger, look to see if it is clear and fresh looking or cloudy and dirty.
    If the lens looks cloudy or dirty then clean the lens with a recommended multi-purpose solution and reinsert the lens. This will most likely correct the blurriness after a few blinks.
    Blurry vision due to dirty lenses is more common at the end of monthly disposable lenses wear time, if you feel this is what is happening with your lenses, you might want to consider changing to daily disposable lenses. With daily disposables, you remove the lens each night, throw it away, and start the new day with a fresh pair of lenses, so they are far less likely to have a buildup of deposits.
  • Not Following Contact Lenses Guidelines
    When you were fitted with contact lenses your optometrist will have provided you with a lot of information on how to care, and handle your lenses, plus provided you with a list of Do's and Don'ts to make sure your contact lenses remain clean and your eyes remain healthy.
    Certain activities can cause your lenses to attract a build-up of deposits or harmful bacteria which can cause irritation or blurred vision. Sleeping in contact lenses, allowing contact lenses to come into contact with water, or poor cleaning and storing techniques, can all lead to blurry vision and even eye infections.
    Check out our contact lens wearers refresher course.
  • Contact Lenses Drying Out
    Working, or living in air-conditioned environments can lead to contact lenses drying out, as can sleeping in your lenses or long periods of screen time. If you feel this is the reason for your blurry vision, then give your eyes a break. Blinking a few times really can help, you can also use rewetting drops to help moisten your eyes or even remove your lenses and soak them in their storage case with some fresh solution, to help rehydrate them.
  • Poorly Fitting Lenses
    Not all contact lenses are the same,  your optometrist will have checked the fitting of your lenses for optimum comfort.
    You will notice that many contact lenses have different fittings, although the differences may be small only 0.1 or 0.2mm these slight differences can alter the way a lens fits, if you change your lenses without consultation you could be wearing a lens that is too tight, or too loose, both of which can cause blurry vision. 
    Astigmatism is an uneven curvature of the eye and will also affect the way a contact lens fits, if you are developing astigmatism or your astigmatism is getting worse then you may need a new contact lens fitting.
  • Displaced or wrongly inserted Contact Lens
    Blurry vision whilst wearing your contact lenses may be caused by wearing the wrong lens in each eye, or, the lens shifting or folding during wear, this can easily happen if you rub or knock your eye.
  • Contact lens Inside out
    Inserting a lens inside out is easy to do and will cause the lens to move too much in the eye and can cause blurry vision. This is normally felt immediately, or very shortly after insertion. If in doubt, wash and dry your hands, remove the lens, invert it, and re-insert it. It can be difficult to tell if a lens is inside out, but we have a helpful guide you can check out
  • Shifted lens
    A lens can be displaced quite easily, rubbing or knocking the eye, and even crying can cause the lens to move off centre - this can cause blurry vision, as your vision is no longer being corrected.
    You can try to move the lens back into place by locating the lens by using your fingertip on your eyelid and gently manipulating the lens back into place. 
  • Right Lens, Wrong Eye
    If you have a different powered lens for each eye, it is important to make sure you put the right lens in the right eye, otherwise, your vision will not be corrected, if in doubt, remove your lenses and switch them around.
  • Damaged Lens
    If your blurred vision has come on suddenly and you experience pain or discomfort, it could be that your lens has a chip or a tear in it.
    Remove your lens to check it is intact, if so great, if not dispose of the lens, and insert a new one. If the pain continues, remove the lens and speak with your optometrist

Blurred Vision With Your Lenses In And When You Remove Them

If you experience blurry vision with your lenses in and it continues when you remove them, it is possible that the issue is not your contact lenses but an underlying eye, or medical condition - the most obvious of which are

Underlying eye condition that's not being corrected

Dry Eye Syndrome - This is the inability of your eyes to produce enough tears, it can cause numerous symptoms, one of which is blurry vision.

Macular degeneration - This causes blurring just to the central vision.

Cataracts - Often associated with older people, as our eyes' lens naturally begin to cloud over as we age, but it can be caused by injury.

Glaucoma - This causes damage to the optic nerve, leading to blurred vision and a gradual loss of vision.

Diabetic Retinopathy - Diabetes can cause damage to the blood vessels in the retina over time. Blurry vision can be an early symptom of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

Outdated Prescription
One of the most common reasons for blurred vision is an outdated prescription, if it's been a while since you last had your eyes tested, then make an appointment with your optometrist for an eye test. It is recommended that an eye test is carried out every 2 years, and more often in some cases if recommended by your optometrist.

Eye infection or scratch 
If your blurred vision continues when you remove your lenses and you are experiencing pain, discomfort, or eye discharge, this could indicate you have an eye infection or have scratched your eye. If the symptoms continue or worsen after an hour or so you should seek professional advice. The quicker you seek medical advice the sooner treatment can commence and the risk of serious infection is significantly reduced.

If you think the cause of your blurred vision is not mentioned here, you might want to check out our in depth article on the causes and treatment of blurred vision.

If you are experiencing blurred vision that cannot be corrected by cleaning your lens, or does not have an obvious cause such as the lens has been inserted into the wrong eye or the lens has shifted, then always seek medical advice, the longer you wait to get your eyes checked by a professional, either an optometrist or a family doctor, the greater the risk you have of developing eye infections or causing long term damage to your eyes or vision.

Author: John Dreyer Optometrist Bsc(Hons), MCOPTOM, DipCLP
Created: 15 Apr 2024, Last modified: 20 May 2024