Can you cry with your contact lenses in and does it harm your eyes?

11th Aug 2022

If you plan to use your contact lenses consistently, this question needs to be addressed. Tears are very common. We cry for innumerable reasons. Be it a sad movie we are watching, excessive emotions we are feeling or simply because the onion we are cutting makes our eyes water, tears are an inseparable part of our daily routine. While contact lenses do require the eyes to stay moist and lubricated, excessive formation of tears tends to interfere with their working by: 

  • Causing irritation of your eyes
  • Leaving deposits on them 

In both instances, your vision gets blurred despite using Systane hydration eye drops.

Types of tears

Generally speaking, tears can be classified into three different types. They are:

  • Basal tears are always present and help to lubricate and protect the eyes from dust and debris,
  • Reflex tears are generated when eyes have to deal with external irritants like smoke or onion fumes etc
  • Emotional tears are the ones that come out as a result of excessive feelings, both happy and sad

While basal tears are very common and always present in optimal quantities, reflex and emotional tears are always generated in excessive amounts. Hence, if you are a consistent wearer of your contact lenses, you need to be careful whenever you find reflex or emotional tears flowing down your cheeks.

What happens when your eyes start to water?

Essentially, when your lacrimal glands or tear ducts, as they are commonly known, get aggravated, they produce tears. Normally, the contact lenses smugly fit over your cornea and your tear ducts remain unaffected by them. But when aggravated, tears that are produced get distributed over the whole surface of your eyes with each blink. This interferes with the snug fitting of your lenses thereby causing them to undergo slight shifting due to the lessening of surface tension between the lenses and the surface of your cornea.

In due course, the tears either overflow down your cheeks or follow their normal drainage pattern. But till your lenses do not come back to their original position, you might experience a blurring of vision because of a shift in the focal length.

Another reason why you experience blurred vision with contact lenses when you cry is because of the enzymes, mucus and lipids that are present in your tears. These tend to stick to the contact lenses thereby leading to a temporary blurring of vision. The use of blink contacts eyedrops can help solve this blurring to a great extent.


While many people fear that crying might make contact lenses fall off the eyes, this fear is unjustified provided you do not rub or wipe your eyes hard. Rubbing or wiping your eyes with force might cause your contact lenses to crinkle, fold and get stuck under your upper eyelids thereby causing some irritation. Hence, you need to be very careful and use eyelid wipes to gently dry your eyes.

While crying in itself does not harm the contact lenses, it is the way you handle your tears that can irritate your eyes. Thus, you need to consciously handle your tears gently and rub your eyes carefully. But ultimately, it is okay to cry while wearing your contact lenses.