Are Contact Lenses Ok In Different Climates?
Contact lenses are useful tools that help hundreds of thousands of people around the world see more clearly, but what happens when some of those people live in and deal with weather and geographical extremes?
This discreet eyewear option can generally be worn in any situation. Here's a breakdown of the more specific circumstances you may encounter during wear.
Are contact lenses ok to wear in hot and cold weather?
Hot weather shouldn't have any significant effect on your contact lenses. Despite some urban myths, your lenses will not 'melt' during wear. One potential side effect of warmer weather is that the lenses may dry out more quickly. In this case, eye drops are often the best way to deal with the moisture levels. Your eye specialist will be able to tell you which product is best for your particular contact lenses. In the case of saunas and spas, it's best to take your lenses out. This is because the extreme moisture and heat may cause sweat to get in behind the lenses and cause an infection. Cold weather conditions, however, are generally fine for wearing contact lenses. Many people wear their lenses outdoors in very cold weather, such as when the degrees drop below zero, and do not notice any difference to their lenses. Since the lens sits so closely to your eye your body temperature will usually be enough to keep the contact lenses at a comfortable temperature. Research is being carried out to determine if there is a quantifiable effect, but so far the large majority of tests have shown no effects.It is possible that your contact lenses may feel a little dry if there isn't enough humidity in the cold air, in which case a simple solution of instilling lubricating eye drops will likely be enough to remedy the situation.
Are contact lenses ok to wear at high altitude? At high altitude, the air is thinner, offers less oxygen and is often very dry, so you may wonder what kind of effects, if any, this could have on contact lens wear?
For most wearers, contact lenses will behave the same at sea level as they will at high altitudes. Because of the dryness of the air at altitude, it is again recommended to have plenty of the appropriate eye drops on hand to keep the lenses moist as dryness can cause discomfort and irritation in the eye.A study from the US Airforce tested soft contact lenses at extreme altitudes and found that while there were more stressors in the atmosphere at such heights, there was no measurable degradation of the eyewear. Such extreme conditions would be rare for most contact lens wearers, however.
Will weather affect my contact lenses?
There are a number of other weather conditions to consider as well. Contact lenses are a popular option because they will not become smeared with water droplets in the rain or fog up in cold weather. In rain and snow, your eyes will react in much the same way during contact lens wear as they do when you're not wearing lenses. This means you will naturally blink to keep out any moisture, which helps to protect the lenses. Since your body temperature will largely keep the lenses at a normal temperature, you won't need to worry about the lenses getting too cold. The only struggle with windy weather is that there is a greater chance of dirt and dust blowing into your eyes. When dealing with these conditions and contact lenses, be sure to follow your optometrist recommended cleaning routines to avoid any dust getting stuck on the lenses.