• Why do I feel like something’s in my eye when my contacts are off?


    Question:

    It feels like there is something in my eye all the time even though I have tried to get it out. The only time it does not feel like that is when I'm wearing contacts. What should I do?


    Answer:

    It can feel like something is in the eye with each blink if the inner surface of the eyelid or the outer surface of the eye (the cornea) are not smooth. These surfaces normally glide over each other with each blink, assisted by the lubrication provided by the tear film on the surface of the eye. If the surface of the eye is irregular, natural or even artificial tears may not be enough to prevent symptoms. When you wear contact lenses, you might not feel this foreign body sensation because the lens covers the irregular surface of the cornea and blinking becomes a less abrasive sensation. Contact lenses are sometimes prescribed to patients for this very reason.

    You should see your ophthalmologist to see if there are any foreign bodies in your eye (including beneath the upper eyelid) or to see if you have an eyelid or corneal condition that would be responsible for the foreign body sensation. Most commonly, dry eyes are the cause, but occasionally retained foreign particles, corneal abrasions, nodules and scarring can give a similar feeling.


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