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How Long After a Stye Can You Wear Contacts

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A woman using her left fingers to pull her eyelid down while she puts a contact lens on her right eye with her right hand

Dealing with a stye can be an uncomfortable experience, especially for those who rely on contact lenses for clear vision. One common concern is determining how long after a stye you can safely resume wearing contact lenses.

When you’re determining when to resume wearing contact lenses, the factors to consider include the severity of the stye, your doctor’s advice, and proper hygiene practices, but in general, you should wait until all symptoms of a stye, such as redness, swelling, and pain, have completely subsided before wearing contacts again. 

Caring for your eyes all starts with seeking out your eye doctor’s advice in an eye exam. During an exam, we can get a better understanding of a stye’s severity, provide options for treatment, and help you determine a timetable for resuming contact usage.

Understanding Styes

Styes (hordeolum) are red, painful lumps that can develop on the eyelid. They typically occur when oil glands become blocked, leading to the formation of a localized staph infection.

While styes are often harmless and tend to resolve on their own, they can cause discomfort and affect daily activities such as wearing contact lenses. They usually cause pain, swelling, and redness. 

Who is Susceptible to a Stye?

A stye may be more likely to occur if you:

  • Have had one before
  • Use contact lenses
  • Are not maintaining your eye hygiene
  • Use contaminated or outdated eye makeup 
  • Have other conditions, such as blepharitis, an irritated or infected eyelid
  • Have additional health issues, including diabetes, seborrheic dermatitis, or rosacea 

Styes & Contact Lenses

If you wear contact lenses and develop a stye, you should remove your contacts until the stye has healed. The good news is that styes usually go away on their own within a week or 2

Once your stye has healed and is no longer causing any pain or irritation, you can usually resume wearing contacts. However, it’s essential to take some precautions to prevent any further infections. 

It’s vital to keep your contacts and contact case clean to reduce the risk of contracting another infection. You should also make sure your hands are always clean before handling your contacts. 

Pay attention and keep monitoring your eyes for any further redness, irritation, or discomfort, as these may be early signs of a recurrence.

Timeframe for Contact Lens Use After a Stye

The timeframe for resuming contact lens wear after a stye can vary depending on the severity of the stye and individual healing times. In general, it is advised to wait until the stye has completely healed before reintroducing contact lenses.

If you are uncertain about resuming contact lens wear after a stye, it’s important to check with your optometrist. We can examine your eyes, determine the cause of the infection, and provide guidance on contact lens care. 

In some cases, we may recommend waiting a little longer than 2 weeks, or we may recommend that you switch to daily disposable lenses.

Factors to Consider:

  • Severity of the Stye: Mild styes may resolve within a few days, while more severe cases could take longer. It’s crucial to allow sufficient time for the stye to heal completely.
  • Your Eye Doctor’s Advice: Consulting an eye care professional is essential for managing styes. We can assess your stye’s progression, provide personalized guidance, and recommend the appropriate timeframe for resuming contact lens use.
  • Hygiene Practices: Maintaining good eye hygiene is crucial during stye recovery. This includes regularly cleaning your eyelids, avoiding eye makeup, and refraining from touching or rubbing the affected area.
  • Symptom Resolution: Wait until all symptoms, such as redness, swelling, and pain, have completely subsided. Resuming contact lens use prematurely may exacerbate irritation and prolong the healing process.

Preventing Future Styes

To minimize the risk of future styes, consider the following preventive measures:

  • Follow Proper Hygiene Practices: Wash your hands thoroughly before handling contact lenses or touching your face.
  • Use Regular Lens Care: Adhere to a strict cleaning and disinfecting routine for your contact lenses.
  • Avoid Eye Makeup Contamination: Replace eye makeup regularly, at least every 3 months, and avoid using it while a stye is present.

It’s essential to be patient when it comes to your eyes. It is better to wait a little longer to wear contacts again than to risk eye damage or another painful stye. 

If you continue to experience discomfort or irritation, you should book an appointment with your eye doctor to assess the underlying issue.

A woman in an optometry clinic shaking hands with a  male optometrist

Clear Vision, Healthy Eyes: Navigating Styes with Care

Styes can be annoying and painful, but the good news is that they typically resolve themselves in a week or 2. If you wear contact lenses, it’s important to remove them until the stye has healed and you are no longer experiencing any redness, pain, or swelling. 

Ensure that you observe proper lens care practices and maintain cleanliness to prevent any further infections. If in doubt, always consult your eye doctor, as we can provide sound advice to keep your eye health in check. 

Patience and caution are key when considering the resumption of contact lens wear after a stye. Prioritize your eye health, follow the advice of your eye care professional at The Eye Gallery, and ensure the stye has fully healed before reintroducing contact lenses. If irritation persists, schedule an appointment today!

Written by Dr. Megan Baldwin

As a Kansas native (born and raised in Kingman), Dr. Baldwin is thrilled to practice what she loves so close to home. She can’t imagine anything better than to care for her community and build strong ties with new friends and colleagues.

When She’s not in the office caring for her patients, Dr. Baldwin enjoys making memories with her husband, Aaron, and two sweet kids, Parker and Stella! You’ll often find her playing piano, hosting her friends and family in her home, or out for a run. Dr. Baldwin and her husband enjoy traveling to warm places and recently became open-water scuba diver certified!

She chose eye care as her career because Dr. Baldwin has always wanted to help people. The quality of care she provides is incredibly important to her. In an age where doctors spend just a few minutes with their patients, she is proud to give her patients the time and diligence they deserve. More than to simply “see” you, Dr. Baldwin wants to learn more about you and how she can best serve your needs. Your relationship matters.

Dr. Baldwin invites you to make an appointment for yourself or your children, whether you have an eye concern or are simply seeking an updated corrective lens prescription. She will always do her best to provide you the best eye care available anywhere in Wichita.

Professional Associations & Memberships

  • Member, Kansas Optometric Association (KOA)
  • Member, American Optometric Association (AOA)
  • Member, Business Networking International (BNI)


  • Bachelor of Science (chemistry) – Bethel College, 2007
  • Doctor of Optometry – Northeastern State University, Oklahoma College of Optometry, 2011
    • Graduated Magna Cum Laude
    • Member of the Beta Sigma Kappa honor society
    • Presented with “Outstanding Clinician in Ocular Disease” award
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