Can Contacts Cause Styes?

Eyes Styes

Contact lenses themselves do not directly cause styes (also known as hordeolum), but certain factors related to wearing contact lenses might contribute to their development in some individuals.

A stye is a red, painful lump that forms on the eyelid, usually near the edge of the eyelid. Styes are typically caused by a bacterial infection, commonly Staphylococcus aureus, which occurs when bacteria enter and infect an oil gland or hair follicle on the eyelid.

While contact lenses do not directly cause styes, factors associated with their use might increase the risk of developing a stye:

  • Poor hygiene: Not following proper contact lens hygiene practices, such as inadequate handwashing before handling lenses, wearing lenses for an extended period, or sleeping in contact lenses, can increase the likelihood of introducing bacteria to the eyes and eyelids, potentially leading to an increased risk of styes.
  • Eye irritation or inflammation: Prolonged use of contact lenses, especially if they are not properly fitted or if the eyes become irritated or inflamed due to contact lens wear, can potentially lead to conditions that might increase susceptibility to styes.
  • Touching the eyes: Touching the eyes frequently, particularly when handling contact lenses or the area around the eyes with dirty hands, can introduce bacteria and contribute to the development of styes.

To help prevent styes while wearing contact lenses:

  • Follow proper hygiene practices recommended for contact lens wear, including regular handwashing, proper cleaning and disinfection of contact lenses, and following the recommended wearing schedule.
  • Avoid sleeping in contact lenses unless they are specifically designed for extended wear.
  • Replace contact lenses as recommended by the eye care professional.
  • Avoid rubbing or touching the eyes excessively, especially without clean hands.
  • If experiencing eye irritation or discomfort, remove contact lenses and consult an eye care professional.

If a stye develops, it’s advisable to avoid wearing contact lenses until the stye has healed completely. Consult an eye care professional if the stye persists, becomes very painful, or leads to changes in vision.

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