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Why Are My Contacts Blurry? Top 8 Reasons

By January 2, 2016Contacts Advice

Contact lenses allow millions of people the convenience of clear vision without the hassles of wearing glasses. However, achieving clear vision with contact lenses is not quite as simple as with glasses. There are several reasons why one might experience blurriness with contact lenses, and in this article I will discuss some of the top reasons.

Contacts Advice Medical Disclaimer

1. Wrong Prescription (Not converted from glasses to contacts)

This is mostly an issue for people who order contact lenses online.

When you visit the optometrist, he/she measures your prescription for glasses. This is not the same as your prescription for contact lenses. In order to obtain a contact lens prescription, your eye doctor has to take additional steps to convert the numbers from your glasses prescription to contact lenses. If you were unaware of the distinction between a glasses prescription and a contact lens prescription, you may have mistakenly ordered contact lenses using the wrong prescription.

Using a valid contact lens prescription to order contacts is always important, but it makes a much bigger difference for people with very high prescriptions. The higher the strength of your glasses, the more important this conversion becomes.

Normally, your optometrist will not automatically give you a contact lens prescription as part of your eye exam. It is typical for them to charge an extra fee of anywhere from $40-$100 for a contact lens assessment. Make sure you ask your optometrist about it if you’re interested in contact lenses.

2. Increase in Prescription

Prescription increase can cause blur

An increase in your prescription can cause blurriness.

Since we typically only have our eyes examined every year or 2 years, is not unusual for us to purchase large amounts of contact lenses at a time. Say you’ve purchased an entire year supply of contact lenses, all the contacts you’ve purchased will have the same prescription. If your prescription happens to get worse throughout the year, you will notice the vision with the contact lenses become blurrier and blurrier.

The reason people most often run into this problem is because the more contact lenses they buy at a time, the less they pay per box. The cost savings over the course of the year is what influences them to buy so many. This is a very common marketing tactic that all retailers of contact lenses use, whether it’s online, or at your optometrist’s office.

If your prescription tends to change quickly, you can avoid this particular problem by either:

  • Buying smaller supplies more often. This gives you the chance to have your prescription checked before you buy more contact lenses if you think your vision has gotten more blurry with them.
  • Making sure the place where you’re getting your contact lenses from has a good exchange policy. Good policies will allow you to exchange all of your unused contact lenses for new contact lenses with the updated prescription.

3. Unstable Lenses For Astigmatism

If you wear contact lenses for astigmatism, you may be prone to fluctuations in your vision. This happens because a contact lens for astigmatism has to be in exactly the right rotational position for your vision to be clear with them. Of course as you know, there is nothing holding the lenses perfectly still on your eyes, so when they rotate out of position, the visions becomes blurry. The higher your astigmatism is, the more this can be a problem.

To try to minimize this phenomenon, contact lens manufacturers make contact lenses for astigmatism with special stabilization features. They build the lenses in such a way that causes the contacts to orient themselves in the correct position on the eyes and keeps them in that same position throughout the day.

Unfortunately, there is no perfect lens that will remain perfectly still at all times, so from time to time you may experience a sudden blur in your vision. This is most likely your contact lens for astigmatism shifting on your eye. Usually, blinking a few times helps to bring it back into the correct orientation. If this becomes too much of a problem, consult with your eye doctor as you may need to consider switching to a different brand.

4. Dry Eyes

Dryness With Contacts

Dry eyes don’t see as clearly as well lubricated eyes.

Your eyes are always covered by a very thin coating of tears called the ‘tear film’. The tear film serves many different functions such as:

  • Protecting the ocular surface from drying out.
  • Providing lubrication for your eyelids as they glide over the surface of your eyes.
  • Washing away debris that might fall into the eyes.
  • Combating infection with its unique anti-microbial properties.
  • And last, but not least, creating a smooth ocular surface that helps to focus light better.

If the tear film is disrupted and the eyes dry out, you will not see as clearly. Without a smooth tear film coating the eyes, it exposes the irregular and rugged surface of the eye. This rugged surface does not focus light very well and the vision is comprised as a result.

When contact lenses are being worn, the same principle applies. Without the tear film properly coating the surface of the contact lenses, the tiny irregularities of the contact lens material will be exposed and cause some disruptions in the way light is focused.

If you are a contact lens wearer and your vision tends to get blurry as your contact lenses dry out, you may need to supplement your tear film with artificial tears for contact lenses.

Please beware, not all artificial tears are made for use with contact lenses. If you don’t select an appropriate eye drop, you may cause unwanted irritation and redness. Click here to find out which brands are the best eye drops for contact lenses.

5. Contact Lenses in The Wrong Eye

If your vision with contact lenses is normally fine, but you notice one day that from the moment you put them on in the morning, the vision just isn’t as clear in one or both eyes, then you may have inadvertently switched your right and left contact lenses. If you think this might have happened, try intentionally switching them to see if the problem resolves. If it doesn’t and you’re now hopelessly confused as to which lens is which, try on a fresh pair that you (hopefully) have labeled. If you’ve tried a fresh pair and you’re sure that you have the correct lens in the correct eye, and you still see blurry with them, the consider some of the other reasons for blurriness with contacts in this article.

6. Inverted Contact Lens

The edge of an inverted contact lens flares out like a saucer.

The edge of an inverted contact lens flares out like a saucer.

An inverted lens may not be the easiest thing to spot when its in your hand, but when you put an inverted lens in your eye, you notice almost immediately. Not only is an inverted lens very uncomfortable, but the vision can also be quite blurry.

Luckily the fix for this is very easy. Simply remove the lens you suspect may be inside out, flip and re-insert it. To prevent this from happening again, read this article for for 5 ways to tell if contact lenses are inside out.

7. Poor Fit (Colored Contact Lenses)

Color contact lenses have an opaque pattern on the outside of the lenses which gives them their color. The only clear part of a color contact lens is a small circular area in the middle of the lenses. In order for you to see clearly with your color contacts, they must be well centered on your eyes. If they are de-centered in any direction, it will cause you to partially be looking through the paint on the lenses. This will obscure your vision, not to mention that if color contacts are not centered well, it will look very awkward cosmetically.

Unfortunately, if this is happening there is not a lot you can do to fix it. You may have better success with a different brand of color contacts.

8. Corneal Problem

Why Are My Contacts Blurry - superficial punctate keratitis

Superficial Punctate Keratitis

The most serious reason for blurriness with contact lenses is if the contact lenses have began causing health problems for your eyes. For people who over wear their contact lenses against the recommendation of their optometrist, eventually they can develop some complications.

Superficial Punctate Keratitis (SPK) is a condition caused by contact lenses (among other things) that causes your cornea to become more cloudy. There are varying severities of SPK, but if it happens to a large enough extent, it can have a similar effect to looking through a dirty window.

Blurriness due to SPK will not immediately go away once you’ve removed your contact lenses and switch back to glasses. It can take weeks to months to completely resolve and will require you to be out of contact lenses, and sometimes even take medication eye drops for your eyes.

Please beware, many people who develop significant SPK assume that the blurriness they experience is simply a result of a change in their prescription, and feel no urgency to change the way they use their contact lenses. This causes the SPK to get even worse. If you have noticed any changes in your vision, I recommend you see your optometrist as soon as possible, as the reason is not always what we think it is.

If you have any experience with blurriness with contact lenses, or know of some reasons that I did not cover, please share them in the comments section below.

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Author Julie

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Join the discussion 49 Comments

  • You made a great point about prescription changes. I’ve noticed a blur in vision lately, but I forgot how long it has been since I had an eye exam. It’s been almost two years, so I wonder if my prescription needs a change. If so, then I’ll have a bunch of lenses to toss out.

    • Julie says:

      Yes unfortunately, that is one drawback to ordering a very large supply of lenses at a time. If your prescription changes, unless you bought them from a place with a good exchange policy, you are stuck with them… 🙁

  • Heather Grace says:

    I wore contacts for years but after the birth of the first baby it was like my eyes couldn’t handle the lenses any more. My eyes always seemed dry. Every time I went to the doctor I got a new prescription. It’s very frustrating. I still do not find contacts comfortable to wear so I stick to glasses. Are there contact lenses made for dry eyes? Or a good eye drop?

    • Julie says:

      Hi Heather! Yes, absolutely there are contact lenses out there designed for people with dry eyes. One of them is called ULTRA by Bausch + Lomb. It’s one of the most advanced monthly contact lenses for people with dry eyes and it’s been allowing people who previously had to drop out of contact lenses due to comfort to be able to wear them again. Other good brands for comfort can be found here.

      As for eye drops, check out my article of the best eye drops for contacts. Any of the drops reviewed there are excellent.


      This information is provided as an information resource only (i.e., this is not medical advice) and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes. This information does not create any patient-doctor relationship, and should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment.

  • Michael Baker says:

    Hi There, what a great time to come across your site, I have just had an in depth eye test and discussed with them about reading glasses and distance glasses, but I am going to find that a bit of a problem having to remember which ones to wear. Now that I have read the pro’s and con’s of your post on contacts I have now rescheduled another visit to discuss contacts instead. Great post and well timed. Have you got a newsletter I can sign up to so I can be kept informed of news and up dates? Cheers, Michael

    • Julie says:

      Hi Michael, depending on your prescription, you may qualify for something known as multifocal contacts lenses. There are designed to help you see well in the distance as well as up close. Hope things work out well for you! I do have a mailing list, you can sign up here!

    • Gina Chiaverini says:

      They are AMAZING! Not to sound dramatic,but they have changed my life! No more putting on my distance glasses to drive, then switching to reading glasses when I get to a store to read prices, ingredients etc. I had to try 2 different kinds, of them BAM! I could see perfect! And no more sore ears from glasses going on and of!! Good luck! My fitting was 105 at lenscrafters. I’m going Friday so the Dr can touch base with me @ ask me how they are working out. ( that vision appt is free) your insurance might pay 50% so check! I hope you are as happy as I am! Merry Christmas!!

  • tony says:

    I used to wear contacts and now my son and daughters wear them. They are always complaining about this that and the other thing when it comes to putting them in and how they dry their eyes. Now I am going to send them this link and see if they read it. I want them to make sure they know is normal and what is not because when it comes to their eyes, I don’t want anything bad to happen to them. Thanks for the tips.

  • Luke says:

    Hi Juile,
    I’ve certainly experienced problems with my contact lenses when they have dried out and got stuck to my eyeball.
    My vision gets blurry and they can be quite painful to remove. This has happened to me when I have fallen asleep wearing them.
    Do you know of any types of contact lenses that can safely be worn for a nap?
    Sometimes I’m too lazy to take mine out when I want a quick snooze!
    – Luke

    • Julie says:

      Hi Luke! There are several contact lenses that are FDA approved for sleeping with (called extended wear contact lenses), although this doesn’t work for everybody and you should only do so with the approval of your eye doctor. You can find a list of extended wear contact lenses here.

      For contact lenses that designed for comfort, take a look at the contact lenses on discussed in this article: http://contactsadvice.com/best-contact-lenses-for-dry-eyes-take-control-of-your-comfort

      These are the most comfortable contact lenses on the market today. Make sure to discuss with your eye doctor regarding which brand would work best for you.


      This information is provided as an information resource only (i.e., this is not medical advice) and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes. This information does not create any patient-doctor relationship, and should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment.

  • Viljoen says:

    I experience dry eyes a lot because I work in an environment that has a lot of dust and smoke. I think this may be why my contact are so blurry. Just wanted to put that out there as another possible reason for blur with contact lenses.

  • Bishop says:

    Hi Julie, thank you for this valuable information on contacts advice. I was always skeptical of obtaining contact lenses cause I did not have a full understanding what to look for and the questions I need to ask.

    My next eye exam visit, I will have more questions for my optometrist because I have a better understanding fo what to ask. Thank you for a better understanding!



  • Gina says:

    I’ve worn contacts for as long as I can remember. I’ve had issues with blurriness, itchiness, dry eyes..etc. I’m sure everyone with contacts has.

    The most problems occur when I have tried to wear colored lenses. They have never really fit right and always blurry. I stopped wearing them for the most part.

    • Julie says:

      Hi Gina, your color contact lenses might not have been fitting properly resulting in the blurry vision through them. If you use to wear color contact lenses many years ago, it’s understandable that you weren’t that comfortable with them, as even the contact lens manufactures admit that old color contact lens technology was not very good at all.

      If you are interested in trying color contact lenses again, try talking to your eye doctor about Air Optix Colors. Or if you’re interested in just enhancing the natural look of your eyes, ask your eye doctor about Acuvue 1-day Define lenses. I think you will enjoy what they can do for you 🙂


      This information is provided as an information resource only (i.e., this is not medical advice) and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes. This information does not create any patient-doctor relationship, and should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment.

  • Julian says:

    I do not wear contacts but almost all of my best friends do and they always complain about blurry contacts. One buddy of mine has astigmatism and I will definitely tell him to try switching brands. I never knew there were so many potential issues with contact lesnes. I think many will benefit from your site because so many people wear contacts.

  • Gaylboutique says:

    I am a contact wearer with astigmatism. Whenever I get my eyes checked, I pay extra to get an eye exam for contacts and buy contacts. My insurance only cover for glasses exam and eyeglasses. I’m glad I found your site because your price comparisons have helped me bring the cost of my contact lenses down.

  • Rodney says:

    Thank you for your post. I found it very helpful. I have a question about teary eyes. I know you mention dry eyes but am curious to know why my eyes well up with tears. Do you have any suggestions for me. Thanks again for a very helpful post. I have learned a lot.

  • Shannon says:

    I’m so thankful that I have the same prescription in both of my eyes, in case they get mixed up and so I don’t go through one prescription more often than other. I borderline have an Astigmatism and the Dr. suggested I go with contacts for it. I declined because of cost and am regretting it. I find myself squinting a lot more. Thankfully I have no blurriness. SPK sounds like an alarming condition that most of us would ignore. I saw you list some providers to buy contacts online – how does this work with your Dr?

    • Julie says:

      Hi Shannon, great question! In the United States, you cannot buy contact lenses online without providing the online retailer with the name of your doctor. This is so that they can verify that your prescription is still valid before you they sell you contact lenses. Hope that answers your question 🙂

  • Cathy says:

    I used to wear contact lenses a lot during my college days until I gradually developed ocular pain bilaterally that caused me severe headache.

    I tried using the artificial tears, but to no avail. My eyes started reddening and that’s when I decided to go back to glasses instead. I could have tried other brands or tear supplements, but I didn’t want to jeopardize the health of my eyes at that time.

    • Julie says:

      Hi Cathy, I’m sorry to hear about your negative experience with contacts. Unfortunately, that kind of story is pretty common with certain older brands of contact lenses. There are other factors which may have led to your intolerance to contact lenses, but I suspect that if you spoke with your eye doctor, he/she would be able to find a brand and a wearing schedule that would allow you to wear contact lenses again successfully. Contacts have come a long way in the past few years.

      Thanks for sharing your story 🙂

  • samreen says:

    Hello, I have a problem with my contact lenses. I have been using lenses for 5 years, but now whenever I buy new ones, it gets blurry and spotted after using them only once. I am very upset…now I can’t use them because they don’t give me proper vision…

    • Julie says:

      Hi Samreen, I would strongly recommend that you bring this issue up with your optometrist. There are many things that could be resulting in the problems you are experiencing, and only an eye doctor has the skills and qualifications to properly diagnose and treat the problem. I hope everything works out for you! Good luck!

  • Sasha says:

    Hi, I recently had my eye exam for contacts and glasses. I had them rechecked due to new prescription causing dizziness and not focusing. So they toned down the astigmatism . Well I have tried the new contacts and glasses and they still seem to be off. I can’t read signs driving down the road and they still seem to be not focusing. My previous prescription didn’t do this. I could see fine and read small print or billboards ect. What should I do?

    • Julie says:

      Hi Sasha!

      I’m sorry to read about this dilemma you’re having with your glasses 🙁

      Some people are more sensitive to changes in their prescription than others. People with higher amounts of astigmatism are typically more sensitive to these kinds of changes. Sometimes the changes just take a bit of time to get used to, but sometimes it just never gets better.

      You mentioned that with your previous prescription, you could see really well. You could try to go back to your optometrist and ask him/her to show you your old and new prescription back to back so you can compare the two and see which one is truly better. If you indeed see better with your older prescriptions, there is nothing wrong with asking your optometrist to prescribe what you had before.

      Let me know how things work out!


      This information is provided as an information resource only (i.e., this is not medical advice) and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes. This information does not create any patient-doctor relationship, and should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment.

  • Lily says:

    Hello !
    I wanted to ask, I just bought new colored contact lenses, I never really wore contacts before, and I did an eye exam and I’ve been told that there’s no problem at all, however, when I tried them on (which took me 2 days LOL) I can see everything but it is a little bit blurry which annoyed me, and I am not sure why. BTW my eyes are a bit dry but I use eye drops. So I don’t know if it’s because of the contacts or what.
    So please can u help 😉

    • Julie says:

      Hello Lily!

      When you did your eye exam, did your optometrist take a look at the contact lenses on your eyes?

      I would recommend you tell your eye doctor about the blurriness. Until you see your doctor, the most prudent thing to do would be to stop wearing the contacts, but bring them to your eye doctor’s office so he/she can take a look at the problem. It could be a lot of different things.

      Let me know how everything works out!


      This information is provided as an information resource only (i.e., this is not medical advice) and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes. This information does not create any patient-doctor relationship, and should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment.

  • Julie says:

    Please note that the following answer is not meant to replace (or be taken as) professional medical advice. I am not a doctor.

    It is very common for increases in cylinder to cause these types of problems, especially if the change wasn’t necessary. I don’t know the all of the details in your case, but if you say that with your old glasses you can see clear on both eyes, and presumably your glasses are based on an older prescription, then it’s possible that an increase in cylinder in your left eye wasn’t necessary.

    When you repeatedly see the same eye doctor, they have access to your old records, so they try not to change your prescription by too much in order to prevent causing adaptation issues that can result from large sudden changes in prescription. If you just switched to a new eye doctor, if he/she didn’t know what your previous prescription was, he/she might have unintentionally changed your prescription by more than otherwise necessary.

    The other thing that commonly causes problems for people who wear contact lenses for astigmatism is the alignment of the contacts. The stronger the cylinder power is, the more important is becomes for the contact lenses to be perfectly centered and aligned on your eyes. Perhaps the contact lens isn’t fitting correctly on your eye.

    The best thing you can do to find the cause of the problem is to take your contact lenses to your optometrist so he/she can take a look. They will be able to tell you exactly what the problem is.

    Out of curiosity, what brand of contact lens are you wearing?

    This information is provided as an information resource only (i.e., this is not medical advice) and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes. This information does not create any patient-doctor relationship, and should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment.

  • I think everyone has accidentally put their contacts in the wrong eyes before. I know I have done it a few times. It is the problem with trying to put contacts in when still groggy and half-awake. However, it is normally fairly obvious what has happened as soon as the contacts go in. So if your vision is blurry directly after putting the contacts in, try again.

    • Julie says:

      Most experienced contact lens wearers will know right away if this happens, yes. Newer contact lens wearers may not know exactly what’s going on at first. Especially if they wear contact lenses for astigmatism, the might think it’s just the lens settling into place, which is normal and can feel very similar to an inside out contact lens or a contact in the wrong eye.

  • LaShaun says:


    I have read the article and the information is very useful however, I didn’t quite see my issue listed. I have recently went to get an exam and was prescribed with a different BRAND of contacts. The prescription was the same as a previous exams.I The previous brand I was using I had no problems with it, but this new brand has it very difficult for me to see as though my sight has changed and thing are blurry. Can the change of contact Brands cause this issue?

    • Julie says:

      Hi LaShaun, thanks for the question. This is definitely something that can happen, and if fact, it happens very often. A lot of times, an eye doctor will try to switch a patient to a different brand even though the patient is not experiencing any problems with his/her contacts. They do this because they have been informed by studies and industry leaders that the newer brands are healthier for your eyes (or they’re just trying to sell you more expensive contacts). But this often ends up reminding us of the old idiom ‘if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it’. Every contact lens brand performs differently, and newer brands don’t always necessarily outperform older ones for certain people. The problem could be the lens design, the power distribution, the wettability of the lenses, etc. It’s hard to say from the information you provided, but changing to the wrong contact lens brands for you could be a cause blurriness.

      The most prudent thing to do would be to stop wearing the contact lenses and bring this issue up to your eye doctor for him/her to investigate.


      This information is provided as an information resource only (i.e., this is not medical advice) and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes. This information does not create any patient-doctor relationship, and should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment.

  • Sam says:

    Hi Julie, I think the picture you have used in the inverted contact lens section is confusing. The subtext under the image refers to the “correct position” but the image itself shows the incorrect position.

  • Darryl says:

    Hi Julie,

    I was given a trial set of daily disposable contact lenses for my astigmatism. I have never worn contacts before. The store showed me how to put them in and take them out. I wore them home and noticed that while my vision was perfect at distances greater than a few feet but my close in vision was blurred. While wearing my glasses or even without them on, my vision has been pretty consistent in both close and far objects. However, the first night wearing the trial contacts, this is not the case. What do you think is going on? Thanks in advance.

    • Julie says:

      Hi Darryl, good question and there are a few possible explanations depending on your age and your prescription. If you don’t mind sharing those details, I would be happy to give you my take on it. Although keep in mind that I’m not a doctor and not in the business of giving substitutes for medical advice 🙂

      • Darryl says:

        Hi Julie,

        Understood. My age is 47 and my eyeglass prescription that was used to create the lenses is :

        Sphere Cyl Axis
        OD -0.25 -1.50 122
        OS pl -2.00 072
        ADD OD +1.25 OS +1.25

        Neither my eyeglasses or the contacts had the progressive aspect added to them.


        • Julie says:

          Hi Darryl, thanks for update! Allow me to try to explain what I see in the numbers you provided and how it relates to the experience you had with your contacts.

          The following is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice:

          First let’s look at your eyeglasses prescription. We can break the prescription down into the 3 parts.

          First, the sphere components for both of your eyes are essentially 0. You’ve got that little -0.25 there on the right eye, but in the context of both eyes both working together, that’s insignificant. Btw, ‘pl’ stands for ‘plano’ which is another way of writing ‘0’.

          Second, both of your eyes have a significant amount of astigmatism. Astigmatism generally causes blurriness in your vision at all distances, although in your case, it is likely that your astigmatism is actually helping you see better up close than you would without it. I will elaborate on this in a little further on.

          Third, you have +1.25 reading add, which is consistent with your age. A reading add usually appears in eyeglasses prescriptions after the age of 40, and increases with time. This is due to a process known as ‘presbyopia’. Presbyopia causes you to require a different strength of lenses for your distance vision and your near vision. In your case, that difference is +1.25 (in the sphere).

          Let’s look at it this way, your distance prescription would be:

          Sphere Cyl Axis
          OD -0.25 -1.50 122
          OS pl -2.00 072

          And your reading prescription would be:

          Sphere Cyl Axis
          OD +1.00 -1.50 122
          OS +1.25 -2.00 072

          *I am not prescribing you these numbers, nor anything else. These are just the numbers you provided.*

          Now let’s get back to your astigmatism. There are different types of astigmatism. Your numbers describe compound myopic astigmatism for the right eye and simple myopic astigmatism in your left eye. Not the common term ‘myopic’ in both of those. The type of astigmatism that you have makes you, in a sense, “semi” nearsighted. Nearsightedness helps people see clearly up close, and makes things blurry in the distance.

          When you started wearing your contact lenses, you essentially neutralized the astigmatism component of your prescription. That is why you were able to see so well in the distance with them on. However, because your astigmatism is what gave you that slight edge when looking up close, neutralizing it with the contacts would make things blurry for you up close.

          If you want to get deeper into the numbers, we can see the overall effect of astigmatism on your vision by simplifying the numbers in your prescription to a single number. To do this we calculate something called the ‘equivalent sphere‘ for each eye. This is done by taking 1/2 of the cylinder and adding it to the sphere. In your case:

          Distance equivalent sphere:

          OD -1.00
          OS -1.00

          *I am not prescribing you these numbers*

          Near equivalent sphere:

          OD +0.25
          OS +0.25

          *I am not prescribing you these numbers*

          In the distance, you are effectively nearsighted (represented by negative numbers in prescriptions). That means that without any glasses or contacts, your vision should be blurry in the distance. Up close, you are very close to 0, meaning that your vision should actually be pretty good. Remember, it’s a little messier than that because you actually have astigmatism, not pure nearsigthedness, but that’s the general idea.

          The only thing that seems inconsistent with the numbers is that you said that with your glasses you could see well up close. Is it possible that your glasses are based on an older (different) prescription? Alternatively, it could be that your glasses contain lenses that aren’t quite progressives, but still contain a feature that helps enhance things up close. There are a few models such as the Dynamic 8/Active 8 lenses, EyeZen, RelaxSee, Anti-Fatigue, etc that all boost the near vision without being a true ‘progressive’ lens. Other than that… I’m not sure :/

          This a pretty long explanation, if you have any questions about any part of it, I’d be glad to elaborate further. And again, I’m not a doctor, nor pretending to be one. When I refer to ‘your prescription’, I am referring to the numbers you presented, I am not prescribing you glasses or contact lenses.

          Hope that helped 🙂


          This information is provided as an information resource only (i.e., this is not medical advice) and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes. This information does not create any patient-doctor relationship, and should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment.

          • Darryl says:

            Hi Julie,

            Thanks for such a great detailed reply. Coincedentally, I visited my optician last evening as well (before I saw your message) and I think the two of you are on the same track. My current eyeglasses are based on my previous prescription and not the same as the one that I shared with you that was the basis of my contacts.

            My optician suggested that my contacts are the correct presciption for my astigmatism and the solutionis wearing them with 1.0 or 1.25 readers for reading or close distances. When I asked why I did not have a similar problem withe my glasses, he said that the weaker astimatism prescription was allowing for decent close in reading but my distance was not as good as that with the new contacts. I suspect both of you are right. That was a good assumption on your part that my glasses are based on an older prescription. Thanks again for your excellent, informative replies.

          • Julie says:

            Hi Darryl,

            I’m glad you were able to get it all sorted out! It’s a pleasure for me to share my thoughts with people who are interested in them. And thank you for sharing your experience on here for all of us to learn from.

            I hope everything works out with your contacts 🙂


  • Julie says:

    Hi Alicia, interesting story. Of course I can only speculate, and you shouldn’t take anything I say as medical advice, or as a replacement for medical advice.

    The face that you got taken out of contact lenses for 2 weeks and put on steroid drops means that there was most likely some kind of complication from your contact lenses causing inflammation somewhere. From the details you provided, it’s difficult to know what exactly the steroid drops were meant to treat, as they can be used for many different contact lens related conditions.

    Since the problem exists with your new and old contacts, and that your doctor saw something initially that prompted her take you out of contacts and treat with steroids, I would suspect that the problem isn’t with the contacts (assuming they were properly fitted).

    I’m sure if you keep working on it with your doctor, you will get to the bottom of it.

    Have there been any developments since you left the comment? Please give me an update when you find out the cause 🙂

    This information is provided as an information resource only (i.e., this is not medical advice) and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes. This information does not create any patient-doctor relationship, and should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment.

  • Kelli says:

    My contacts seem to always be blurry. A few years ago, my eye doctor recommended that I buy some Clerz drops made by Alcon. She said that you can put them directly in your eye and it will clear all of the protein buildup on your lenses. I got this and fell in love with it. It made my contacts so clear with every use. Unfortunately, they stopped making this product. Do you know of another product that does the same thing (removes the protein) while they are still in your eyes? I’ve tried the stuff that you put in the case overnight, but it doesn’t work for me. I want something that I can use in my eyes daily. Please help!

    • Julie says:

      Hello Kelli, thanks for the question!

      * This is not a prescription for eye drops or any other product*

      Although I have never tried this product before, there is an eye drop called Blink-n-Clean Lens Drops for Soft & RGP Lenses that is designed to do what Clerz drops use to do.

      If you give them a try, please write back to let me know how well they work 🙂


      This information is provided as an information resource only (i.e., this is not medical advice) and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes. This information does not create any patient-doctor relationship, and should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment.

  • Caitlin says:

    Hi, I was diagnoses with an astigmatism about a year ago and decided to get the corrective contacts for astigmatism. I would add to your list, not wearing corrective contacts for astigmatism when you should be. It makes a huge difference.

  • Julie says:

    Hi Lisa,

    There are several things to address here.

    Let’s start with your old Rx power. You stated that it was -1.50 and that you could see well with that prescription. Was that -1.50 the power of your old glasses or contact lenses, or both? Also, is the -1.50 the sphere or the cylinder number (or both?). I’m a little confused here because later you gave the numbers for your older prescription lenses, and they include both sphere and cylinder values.

    Ok, aside from that, what I think is happening is that you’re describing pretty well a process called presbyopia. Presbyopia is a change that occurs in the eyes of people in their early to mid-forties.


    Presbyopia makes it harder and harder for eyes to focus on things up close without the help of reading glasses. For any given nearsighted person with presbyopia, their prescription for reading is just a weaker version of their prescription for the distance.

    When distance prescription gets worse in someone with presbyopia, the old glasses essentially became a weaker version of the more up to date prescription, which helps with near vision.

    But suddenly switching to the full distance prescription (the stronger one), it causes the reading vision to become blurry. That’s the presbyopia I mentioned earlier. With presbyopia, trying to focus on things up close without the proper reading glasses creates a lot of strain in the eyes and can lead to headaches.

    So when you went back to your eye doctor after wearing the -2.50 with all those symptoms, he/she could have been trying to lower the power to -2.25 in an attempt to help you see better up close and in so doing, relieve the strain on your eyes which led to your headaches. But it still seemed to be too strong.

    What happens in people with presbyopia is that you will be stuck between accepting a prescription that is a compromise between your distance and near vision, or alternating between two different prescriptions, one for far away, and one for up close.

    For glasses, what most people start doing is wearing progressive lenses, which contain both the distance and near prescription (in different parts of the lens). Alternatively, people can have 2 separate pairs that they switch between, one for the distance and one for reading.


    For contact lenses, one option is to use the distance prescription but wear reading glasses over top of them when looking up close. Alternatively, there is multifocal contact lenses, which provide relatively clear distance and near vision. However, for you I’m afraid that will be difficult with the amount of astigmatism you have.


    I know this was a lot of information, so please feel free to follow up with any questions you may have and I’ll try to help the best I can.

    I recommend that you speak with your doctor about any of the symptoms you’re experiencing. I’m just sharing my thoughts on your situation 🙂

    This information is provided as an information resource only (i.e., this is not medical advice) and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes. This information does not create any patient-doctor relationship, and should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment.

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