Call me back
Make an enquiry

What is contact lens intolerance?

Contact lens intolerance (also known as CLI) is when you cannot put your contact lenses in without irritation or where you can only tolerate lens wear for short periods of time because of significant discomfort. Most contact lens wearers experience it occasionally, but it can reach a point where you’re no longer able to wear contacts at all.

What causes CLI?

A number of factors are thought to be linked to CLI:

  • Dry eye syndrome
  • Wearing contacts for too long
  • Not washing your hands before you put your contacts in
  • Sensitivity to contact lens materials
  • Sensitivity to contact lens solutions
  • Poor fit

How can CLI be treated?

Most mild cases get better by themselves, and you’ll be able to wear your contact lenses again within quite a short space of time.

If you’ve got into bad habits with your contact lenses (e.g. wearing them too long, sleeping in them), changing to better habits may well reduce the discomfort.

If you are sensitive to the lenses themselves, sometimes changing to lenses made of different materials can help.

Sometimes, it is due to a poor fit and in these cases, your contact lens specialist may help by altering the style and shape of your contacts.

Laser eye surgery is a great solution for people with contact lens intolerance, as it removes the need for contact lenses forever but may not be suitable in all cases.

CLI and laser eye surgery

If your contact lens intolerance is linked to dry eyes, you may need to have your dry eyes treated before you can have laser eye surgery. If the dryness is marked, then laser eye surgery may not be a suitable options and in these scenarios, glasses would be the answer.