It is hard to say what may irritate your eyes because everyone's sensitivities are different. Do you know of a certain ingredient that often irritates your eyes? You may want to opt for a formula that has been tested for contact wearers as this will be the least irritating hopefully for you.
Try Blinc Kiss Me Mascara- it has been tested for contact wearers and most people usually love it.
Know that Sephora has a great policy to return the mascara if it bothers you too.
Best of luck,
Here is the info on Kiss Me Mascara...
What it does:
Blinc Kiss Me Mascara is the original tube-technology mascara. It's invented to form tiny water-resistant "tubes" around your lashes for maximum amplification and hold, rather than painting them like conventional mascaras. Once applied, the tubes bind to your lashes and cannot run, smudge, clump, or flake, even if you cry or rub your eyes.
What else you need to know:
This mascara adds both volume and length, to give you a radiant natural look that lasts all day. Neither water nor pressure alone will remove Kiss Me Mascara. Only the combination of lots of warm water and gentle pressure (no need for harsh makeup removers) will slide the tiny tubes effortlessly off your lashes into your hand. Upon removal, you will actually see the tiny tubes slide into your hand.
Among the nominees in the 2008 Best of Sephora, Blinc Kiss Me Mascara has is clinically tested to be non-irritating, making it ideal for sensitive eyes, contact lens wearers, and active people in search of a mascara whose look, hold, and ease of removal is without compromise.
Before doing mascara, try using lubricating eye drops (NOT the ones for redness) at night or prior to make up application (if uncertain of which one, ask the pharmacist). I tend to have dry eyes but never really had a problem using mascaras unless they contained noticeable amounts of fragrance in them. What mascaras and formulas were you using?
The only other thing that might be causing dry or irritable eyes might be the eye shadow or if the shadow base has fragrance in it.
You can try mascaras labeled hypoallergenic or for sensitive eyes such as Clinique, Anastasia. Also look for ones that are fragrance free. But if it is allergies or perpetual dry eyes (even with drops), take care of that first or else wearing mascara will be intolerable.
Hope that helps.
I just wanted to agree with Jill on the Blinc mascara. I wear contacts myself and depending on allergies or the weather my eyes can be super runny or dry. The Blinc mascara is VERY gentle and you definitely don't have to worry about it irritating the eyes or smudging and smearing.