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Protecting Contacts From the Sun

Posted July. 11, 2007 03:13,   


For those who wear contact lenses or glasses, the summer is a difficult time. Strong ultraviolet rays and air-conditioning in enclosed spaces can cause multiple side effects. Even those who have perfect vision wear sunglasses outdoors.

Here are some things to keep in mind for optimal contact, glasses, and sunglass care.

- Contact Lenses

People who wear contact lenses often contemplate whether they should be brought on a summer trip. Usually it’s because they are hard to take care of.

If you are going to be in the water, it’s a smart choice to leave your contacts out. Contacts tend to upset the eye’s natural cleansing abilities, so when they are worn in the water it is likely that pollutants or small particles could get caught between the contacts and the cornea, causing irritations and/or infections.

In the case that contacts are a necessity, disposable contacts are recommended.

Once the contacts are in, opt for swimming goggles in the water, reducing the likelihood of water getting into your eyes. As a precaution, bring along a pair of prescribed glasses to wear in case your eyes get irritated.

In the summertime, it is much more important to be scrupulous about cleansing and disinfecting contacts. Disposable or one-day wear contacts may be more cost-efficient. If there are any signs of eye infection, immediately stop using your contact lenses and wear glasses instead.

Keep the contacts in saline solution and place them where it’s cool and dry for long-term use. Even when contacts are not worn, the solution they’re kept in must be changed at least once every 2 to 3 days, or at the very minimum, once a week.

The contact lenses case should also be cared for. Tap water or contaminated saline solution can infect the case with bacteria, such as staphylococci (more commonly known as staph infections). At least once a month, disinfect your contact lens case. A simple at-home method is to submerge it briefly in boiling water, then let it dry in the sun.

- Eyewear (Glasses and Sunglasses)

Even top quality contacts and eyewear are susceptible to wear and tear if they’re not taken care of properly in the summer.

Do not leave glasses out in direct sunlight. Eyewear should also not be left in cars for long periods of time during the summer, especially in the case of those with plastic lenses or frames, which could change in shape.

Changes in the shape of lenses can cause objects to look distorted and, in turn, people may experience dizziness as well as headaches due to the increased strain on the eyes. When storing eyewear, make sure to keep them in a case to prevent scratches on the lenses and leave the case in the shade.

After a trip to the ocean where the salinity is high, all eyewear must be cleaned thoroughly. Without proper cleansing, there’s a risk of frame erosion or deformity. Use light detergent to wash off the salt water and sand. Then dry completely using a soft, clean cloth.

“The summertime provides perfect breeding conditions for various bacteria that are found on contact lenses or eye products,” stated Doctor Lee Seung-hyeok, head of the Yonsei Eye Plus Center (www.pluseye.co.kr). He also advised that, “If someone experiences severe eye pain or notices frequently blood-shot eyes, they must make an appointment with an optometrist or eye specialist.”