Eyedolatry: Cosmetics Can Permanently Change the Fit, Feel, and Vision of Your Contact Lenses (2023)

Have you ever had the experience of leaving the doctor's office with a great contact lens - excellent comfort and perfect vision - only to have the vision and comfort take a marked turn for the worse a few days or weeks later? As an optometrist, I've seen this issue present itself many times. The lenses perform and move beautifully on the eye in office, but a few days later I'll get a phone call from the patient that they need to be seen because their lenses "don't fit." What changed? New research shows that the products we use around our eyes, from makeup to facewash and makeup remover, can cause significant changes to both the physical shape and performance of contact lenses.

How Does Makeup or Makeup Removers Come in Contact With Your Contact Lenses?

Eyedolatry: Cosmetics Can Permanently Change the Fit, Feel, and Vision of Your Contact Lenses (1)
Makeup applied to the waterline can easily transfer onto your contact lenses. The waterline is where our tear glands (called Meibomian glands) sit, so every time you blink, these glands release oils that spread over the surface of the eye, transferring any makeup applied to the area with them. image via

You may be surprised to hear that contact lenses can be affected by your normal skincare products, because they typically aren't coming into contact with each other directly. No one rinses their contact lenses with makeup remover, or coats them with mascara purposefully (or if you do, you'd expect them to be extremely uncomfortable as a result!). The overwhelming majority of the time, contact lenses are exposed to makeup and soaps by accident when you are either inserting or removing your contact lens. Sometimes makeup or facewash residue is still on our hands when we touch our lenses, or if you are wearing your contact lenses when you apply eye makeup like mascara or eyeliner, small amounts of it can easily transfer into your eye and stick to the surface of the contact lens. The majority of monthly and biweekly disposable contact lenses are made from materials called silicone hydrogel, and the silicone in these lenses that helps make the contact lens more breathable is also very attracted to oils. Makeup and makeup removers are primarily oil based products, and once they come into contact with a contact lens, they bind tightly and are next to impossible to remove even with the strongest contact lens cleaners.

To best prevent makeup from sticking to your contact lens and causing blurry vision, redness, or build up on the lens, try this technique:

(Video) How to Clean Soft Contact Lenses and Contact Lens Case

1. Apply all of your makeup
2. Wash your hands thoroughly
3. Instill a rewetting drop to rinse makeup particles off your eye.
4. Insert your contact lens.

By applying your makeup first and then using an artificial tear drop to rinse stray makeup particles away from the eye's surface, it's less likely that you'll inadvertently transfer makeup onto the contact lens.

The Science of What Makeup And Facewash Can Do to Your Contact Lens

In 2015, researchers tested 7 different silicone hydrogel contact lenses with different common skincare and makeup products, including hand cream, makeup removers, and mascara. Lenses were exposed to each beauty product, and then dark-field microscopy was used to see how much the product deposited on the contact lens. The lenses were then cleaned with a hydrogen peroxide solution and deposits were measured again. Researchers found that mascara was far and away the makeup product that deposited the most on contact lenses. While non-waterproof mascara deposits improved significantly after cleaning the contact lens with a hydrogen peroxide solution, waterproof mascara deposits remained firmly stuck to the contact lens, even after a cleaning cycle!

In June 2019, a new study exploring this same topic was performed looking more specifically at the changes these makeup and skincare products can have on the physical size, shape, and optical properties of a contact lens. Three different brands of contact lenses were tested with exposure to mascara and eye makeup removers as outlined below. All lenses were newly opened from the package and have never been worn previously. Each lens was only exposed to one product. A -3.00D lens was used for each contact lens to minimize differences between lenses outside of the product material itself.

The contact lenses used were:

Eyedolatry: Cosmetics Can Permanently Change the Fit, Feel, and Vision of Your Contact Lenses (2)

The Results:
Statistically significant contact lens changes were found in both diameter (or size) of the lenses, base curve (or shape), and power (or prescription) of the lenses in this study.The degree of change relative to the baseline measurements was compared with theISO standards for contact lenses, which suggests tolerance limits of +/-0.20 mm for lens diameter, +/-0.20 mm for base curve, and +/-0.25 D for lens power.

What Problems Do Makeup Removers Cause?

Research shows these products primarily affect the fit of the contact lens by changing base curve and diameter.

The makeup removers used were:

Eyedolatry: Cosmetics Can Permanently Change the Fit, Feel, and Vision of Your Contact Lenses (3)

  • Diameter Changes: The makeup removers, specifically the liquid products (L'Oreal Gentle Makeup Remover andNeutrogena Oil-Free Makeup Remover), resulted in an increase in lens diameter and lensedge distortions.
    • L'Oreal Gentle Makeup Remover caused diameter increases in senofilconC (Acuvue Vita) and samfilcon A (Bausch and Lomb Ultra) of 0.26 mm
    • Neutrogena Oil-Free Makeup Remover showed a mean increase of0.35 mm for samfilcon A (Bausch and Lomb Ultra)
    • Lotrafilcon B+EOBO (Air Optix Plus Hydraglde) was less affectedcompared with senofilcon C and samfilcon A
  • Base Curve Changes:
    • Liquid makeup removers resulted in an increase in contact lens base curve.
      • L'Oreal Gentle Makeup Remover resulted in an increase in base curve for senofilcon C (Acuvue Vita) of 0.36 mm
      • Neutrogena Oil-Free Makeup Removerresulted in an increase in base curve for samfilcon A (Bausch and Lomb Ultra) of 0.35 mm
      • Because most of these changes exceeded the tolerance of the ISO standard of +/-0.20 mm, it is possible that lens movement and centration of the contact lens on the eye could be affected
Eyedolatry: Cosmetics Can Permanently Change the Fit, Feel, and Vision of Your Contact Lenses (4)
Contact lens edge distortion caused by exposure of samfilcon A lens to Neutrogena Oil-Free Makeup Remover via

What Problems Do Mascaras Cause?

These products primarily effect image quality and vision.

The mascaras used were:

Eyedolatry: Cosmetics Can Permanently Change the Fit, Feel, and Vision of Your Contact Lenses (5)

  • Deposition Changes: Mascara caused significant deposits on the contact lenses, and in some brands these deposits did not improve even after a 1 hour soak in purified buffer solution.
    • Maybelline Great Lash Waterproof Mascara deposited thickly on all lens types and did not slough offduring the 1-hr soak
    • Rimmel Wonder'Lash Waterproof Mascara and L'Oreal Luminous Original Mascara did not deposit as thickly and sloughed off more readilyafter cleansing
  • Optical Image Quality:This was measured using the ContestPlus II (Rotlex, Israel) lens analyzer.
    • all contact lens types were adversely affected by mascara
    • samfilcon A (Bausch and Lomb Ultra) was affected similarly by all brands
    • senofilcon C (Acuvue Vita) and lotrafilcon B+EOBO (Air Optix Plus Hydraglyde) were most affected by Maybelline Great Lash Waterproof Mascara
  • Base Curve Changes:
    • Of the mascaras tested, only Maybelline Great Lash Waterproof Mascara caused a statistically significant change in base curve
      • The application of Maybelline Great Lash Waterproof Mascara caused a steepening in base curve for alllens types of 0.24 mm for senofilcon C (Acuvue Vita) and samfilcon A (Bausch and Lomb Ultra) and0.19 mm for lotrafilcon B+EOBO (Air Optix Plus Hydraglyde)
  • Lens Power Changes:
    • The exposure of makeup removers caused a change in power ofless than or equal to 0.09 D which was not statistically significant
    • Overall, mascaras differed significantly in their impact on lenspower
      • Maybelline Great Lash Waterproof Mascara caused an apparent decrease in power of -1.18 D for senofilcon C (Acuvue Vita)

Take Home

During the normal course of wear, contact lenses can be exposed to numerous facial and cosmetic products that can significantly impact the comfort and visual performance of the lens. Properly cleaning your contact lenses may help recover some of the parameter changes caused by different cosmetics to some degree. However, particularly mascara may still affect image quality and liquideye makeup removers may affect lens fit. If you are struggling with contact lens performance, changing to a daily disposable contact lens and limiting exposure of the lens to cosmetic products may greatly increase lens comfort, vision, and wearing time. Avoiding waterproof mascaras and tightlining with eyeliner can also help minimize contact lens contamination.

Eyedolatry: Cosmetics Can Permanently Change the Fit, Feel, and Vision of Your Contact Lenses (6)
The best solution? Changing to daily disposable lenses can make sure that your contact lenses perform the same every day!


Can contacts change your vision? ›

Long-term Effects of Contacts on Eyes

Long-term use of contact lenses can also lead to changes in the thickness of the cornea. It can change the shape of the cornea, cause the formation of micro cysts, vision loss, and decreased corneal sensitivity.

Is spooky eyes FDA approved? ›

We've designed our lenses to be suitable for everyone, and they're made of the highest quality materials, manufactured to FDA/ISO standards. Since our Halloween contacts are approved for sale worldwide, you can rest assured that you're making a safe choice with us.

How do I know if my contacts fit correctly? ›

Top Signs of Contact Lens Discomfort
  1. Stinging, burning and itchy eyes.
  2. Abnormal feeling of something in your eye.
  3. Excessive tearing.
  4. Unusual eye secretions.
  5. Eye redness.
  6. Poor visual acuity.
  7. Blurred vision or halos around objects.
  8. Light sensitivity.

How long does it take for cornea to return its normal shape after wearing contacts? ›

If you wear rigid contacts, your vision will usually vary for a while as your corneas change shape. Although the cornea usually returns to its natural state within three weeks, this process may take longer, and you will need to remain contact lens free until your vision and cornea stabilize.

Can contacts make your vision worse? ›

The answer to this question is a pretty simple no. Contact lenses are a perfectly healthy option for those suffering from all kinds of visual impairments, no matter how old or young they might be.

Are cosmetic contact lenses safe? ›

Coloured contact lenses are totally safe to wear if you follow best practise when purchasing them and wearing them. If you are nervous or worried about getting them, visit your local optician or head to Superdrug Glasses Online for some advice.

What is the newest FDA eye drop? ›

The new FDA-approved eye drops for presbyopia are a low-dose of pilocarpine (1.25%) with a proprietary pH technology that causes the eyedrops to rapidly adjust to the pH of tear film. An eyedrop that causes pupil constriction is called a miotic.

Is Vuity eye drops FDA-approved? ›

U.S. Food and Drug Administration Approves VUITY™ (pilocarpine HCI ophthalmic solution) 1.25%, the First and Only Eye Drop to Treat Presbyopia (Age-Related Blurry Near Vision)

Are cheap contact lenses safe? ›

While cheap contacts are available, they aren't always the best choice for your eyes. A low-quality pair may be more likely to tear, and this could lead to a scratch on your cornea or other damage to the eye.

Why do my contacts not fit anymore? ›

Many factors can contribute to CLI, such as: viruses, bacteria, fungi or parasites. ocular or systemic conditions (e.g., dry eye, allergies, etc.) wearing contacts too long.

Why doesn't my contact lens feel right? ›

Some of the reasons why you might experience contact lens discomfort include the wrong lens fit, poor hygiene practices, allergies, dry eyes, medications, and underlying conditions. A good aftercare routine can go a long way in helping you to reduce eye discomfort.

Can your eyes start to reject contacts? ›

There are many reasons that your eyes might reject your contacts. Your eyes can develop an intolerance to contact lens fluid, bacteria from unclean contacts, or even the material of the lenses themselves. Some common causes of contact lens intolerance include: Improper use, storage, or cleaning.

Why is my eye still blurry after I take my contacts out? ›

If the blurry vision that you're experiencing is still present after the contacts are removed, it could indicate a more serious eye health problem such as corneal swelling, infection, inflammation, cataracts, retinal problems, or many other conditions. If the blurred vision persists, see your eye doctor immediately.

What are the long term effects of wearing contact lenses? ›

Other long-term effects of contact lenses can include: changes in thickness and shape of the cornea, formation of micro cysts, decreased corneal sensitivity, and even vision loss.

What happens if you wear contacts for years? ›

Risks of wearing contacts too long

Corneal ulcers (infectious keratitis): An open sore in the outer layer of the cornea. Hypoxia: A lack of oxygen that can lead to abnormal blood vessel growth into the cornea. Damage to corneal stem cells needed to keep the cornea clear for good vision.

Will my eyes adjust if I stop wearing my glasses? ›

Generally, if you quit wearing your prescription eyewear, your vision will go back to normal once you take it off. However, this can vary by person. To help keep your vision up to par, it's important to wear your glasses based on your eye doctor's instructions, whether that's full time or only while using the computer.

Which is better for your eyes contacts or glasses? ›

You may be asking whether glasses or contact lenses are better for your eyes, but the answer ultimately boils down to one thing - your lifestyle. Both eyeglasses and contact lenses serve the same person, which is to help you improve the quality of your life by seeing more clearly.

Do contacts improve vision better than glasses? ›

Contact lenses offer potentially better visual acuity when compared with glasses; Contact lenses offer a greater and clearer field of vision than glasses; They can allow wearers to take part in many sports and forms of exercise; Some people prefer the appearance of contact lenses to glasses.

How long can you wear cosmetic contact lenses? ›

The maximum time that any lens has been approved to wear continuously is 30 days. You should never wear a lens longer than that. If you must sleep in your lenses, most eye doctors will encourage you to take them out as often as possible, or at least once per week.

How long do cosmetic contact lenses last? ›

They last about 30 days from the time of opening and must be stored every night in a contact lens solution. Again, it's good to give your optician a nudge if you have any questions about looking after your lenses.

How long should you wear cosmetic contacts? ›

As a general rule, it is best not to keep them in for more than 8 hours a day. If they start getting uncomfortable, take them out earlier. Also, never sleep or swim in your contacts! Doing so can result in dry eyes, itchy eyes, red eyes, or even an eye infection.

Why is Vuity not covered by insurance? ›

Currently Vuity eye drops are not covered by any insurance. The insurance companies currently view this as a cosmetic thing and that is why they do not cover the vuity drops at this time. So, the cost of Vuity eye drops with insurance is still the $80 a month.

Can people over 55 use Vuity? ›

Who is VUITY for? VUITY™ (pilocarpine HCI ophthalmic solution) 1.25% was FDA-approved for patients 40-55 diagnosed with Presbyopia.

What happens if you use Vuity more than once a day? ›

"We are encouraged by the results from the VIRGO trial, which suggest that administering VUITY twice daily may provide an additional dosing option for people with presbyopia to improve their near vision without compromising their distance vision," said Christopher Lievens, O.D., clinical trial investigator and ...

Do you have to use Vuity forever? ›

VUITY can improve near vision for several hours a day, potentially enough to get through the work day without readers. However, they are not a permanent solution and you will likely still need reading glasses in the evening and on days that you do not use the eye drops.

Who Cannot use Vuity eye drops? ›

VUITY is contraindicated in patients with known hypersensitivity to the active ingredient or to any of the excipients.

Who should not take Vuity? ›

VUITY is not recommended to be used when iritis is present because adhesions (synechiae) may form between the iris and lens. Contact lens wearers should be advised to remove their lenses prior to the instillation of VUITY and to wait 10 minutes after dosing before reinserting their contact lenses.

What is the difference between cheap and expensive lenses? ›

The Contrast and Clarity of an image is what most people will notice right away when comparing a cheap lens to a higher-end lens. Typically the expensive lenses have better coatings both internally and externally. Coatings do a few things, they help reduce light scatter and this can actually help light transmittance.

Is it safe to wear contact lenses every day? ›

No matter what type of contact lenses you opt to buy, you should be able to wear your contact lenses every day. Of course, there are exceptions to every rule, and you may not be able to wear your contacts every day if you are: Experiencing eye redness, dryness, or irritation.

Why are glasses cheaper than contacts? ›

Glasses are generally less expensive than contacts in the long run because they do not need to be replaced as often. However, if your glasses break, they can be expensive to replace.

Why does my right contact always feel weird? ›

If you always feel as if you have something in your eye, improper lens fit could be the problem. Fitting issues are a common culprit, especially in instances when the patient is only having problems with discomfort in one eye. It's possible that one lens might fit right, but the other might be a bit off.

How do you make contacts feel better in your eyes? ›

Let's take a closer look at a few ways that you can feel more comfortable.
  1. Lubricate Them. If your eyes are dry or if your contact lenses are dry, they will usually fall right out or feel itchy and irritating. ...
  2. Use Clean Hands. If you get dirt on your contacts, it will make them uncomfortable. ...
  3. Soak Your Lenses.
Aug 15, 2019

Why does my right eye feel Cloudy with my contacts in? ›

Cloudy vision can be caused by dirty contacts that are not cleaned or disinfected properly. Contacts that do not fit properly or are not the right prescription may also result in impaired vision. Cloudy vision may be the result of dirt or debris being trapped under the contact, which may be more common with RPG lenses.

How do you know if contacts are messing up your eyes? ›

Since contact lenses are always in direct contact with the surface of the eye, they can easily cause eye irritation through rubbing or by trapping dust—and both can lead to an eye infection. Common symptoms to look out for include blurred vision, “grittiness,” itchiness, redness or burning, and eye discharge.

Do dry eyes make contacts blurry? ›

Blurry lenses are also a common occurrence with dry eyes. To test if dry eyes are the culprit, all you need to do is blink. If your vision improves a little bit, then dry eyes are causing blurriness in your lenses. We recommend using rewetting drops or artificial tears to rehydrate your contact lenses.

Can dry eyes cause blurry vision? ›

If you have a severe case of dry eyes or you don't seek treatment, you're at risk for serious complications. One of the first problems may be blurry vision as loss of the tear film hampers the cornea's ability to focus light on the lens.

Why are astigmatism contacts so uncomfortable? ›

An irregular shaped cornea can prevent a contact lens from fitting correctly on the eye and cause ocular discomfort. Corneal irregularities can be caused by: High astigmatism.

Does contact lens have side effects? ›

Symptoms cover a wide range, including burning, itching, redness, irritation, the sensation of a foreign object beneath the lens, and acute pain. Infections can lead to corneal ulcers with both acute and chronic repercussions on visual performance.

Do you get too old to wear contacts? ›

Contact lenses are one of many options for correcting vision, but are they a good solution for older adults? They can be. With guidance from an eye doctor, many adults over 60 successfully wear contacts.

What happens if you sleep with contacts for a year? ›

What Happens if You Sleep with Contacts In? Sleeping with contacts in your eyes substantially raises the risk of eye infection, in particular microbial keratitis. Microbial keratitis is inflammation and infection of the cornea (the protective dome on the surface of your eye, exactly where your contact lens sits).

When should you not wear contacts? ›

If you sleep with your contacts in, you may dry out your eyes or worse — risk infection, corneal ulcers or an inflammatory reaction known as contact lens-induced acute red eye (CLARE). When you're in any type of water, do not wear your contacts. This includes showers, hot tubs, pools, lakes, rivers and the ocean.

Why is my vision different with contacts? ›

Why do I get blurry vision when I wear my contacts? The most common reasons for blurry vision with contacts are an outdated prescription, a new prescription you haven't adjusted to yet, wearing your contacts for too long, contacts that don't fit correctly, and allergies.

Do contacts correct vision better than glasses? ›

Contact lenses offer potentially better visual acuity when compared with glasses; Contact lenses offer a greater and clearer field of vision than glasses; They can allow wearers to take part in many sports and forms of exercise; Some people prefer the appearance of contact lenses to glasses.

What happens if you wear contact lenses everyday? ›

If you overwear your contacts, you may put yourself at risk of: Corneal ulcers (Keratitis) Contact lens intolerance. Hypoxia.

What are the disadvantages of wearing contact lenses? ›

Here are a few of the worst effects!
  • Red Eye. Having red eyes can happen for all sorts of reasons. ...
  • Dry Eye. Contacts have a tendency to dry out your eyes, which can cause negative symptoms. ...
  • Infection. ...
  • Corneal Vascularization. ...
  • Eye Ulcers. ...
  • Conjunctivitis.
Nov 14, 2018

Should your vision be the same with your contacts and your glasses? ›

The answer is no. While they both have the same objective — to correct what eye doctors call “refractive errors” that prevent you from seeing correctly — prescriptions for eyeglasses and contact lenses are distinctly different.

Why is my right contact blurry? ›

Buildup of debris and protein deposits on the surface of the contact lenses is the most common reason for the lenses to seem cloudy or hazy. The easiest way to see if this is the problem, is to take the lenses out and compare the vision in your glasses.

Why does my left contact lens feel uncomfortable? ›

Your lenses are not properly fitted

If you always feel as if you have something in your eye, improper lens fit could be the problem. Fitting issues are a common culprit, especially in instances when the patient is only having problems with discomfort in one eye.

At what age should you stop wearing contact lenses? ›

There's no age limit: You can wear contact lenses as long as they're working for you.” While that's surely good news for both long-time and would-be lens wearers, there are a few other myths we'd like to dispel.

Why is my vision worse with glasses than contacts? ›

When you wear contact lenses there is no minimizing or maximizing the images you see. When you wear glasses, image size is being introduced into the equation. Think about it like using a magnifying glass.

Should my glasses prescription be stronger than my contacts? ›

Because eyeglasses sit some distance away from your eyes, the prescription for glasses is typically a bit stronger than for contact lenses. This is the primary difference between the two prescriptions.

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