You may find yourself wearing your contact lenses more in the summer months. The days are longer and you might be able to take some time off from work or school, allowing for more leisure activities. There are opportunities for sun, sand, and surf, which in turn cause challenges with wearing contact lenses.
What to Do If You Wear Contact Lenses in Summer
The summer months may be a time when your eyes are feeling more red, tired, and irritated. But it doesn’t have to be that way! Take a few precautions and your eyes will thank you.
Can you wear sunglasses with contacts? Absolutely, and you definitely should, even when it’s cloudy out. They shield your eyes from excessive light, making vision more comfortable. They can also protect against the wind, a source of irritation and dryness.
Dr. Kraff knows that polarized lenses can also help with eye strain caused by glare. The benefits of wearing sunglasses aren’t limited to the present, by shielding your eyes and skin around them from UV light, you’ll also be lowering your risk of cancer, and reducing fine lines and wrinkles.
Wear Lenses with UV Protection
Do contacts protect your eyes from the sun? You might be surprised to find out that some do. You see, certain brands of contact lenses come with a UV filter built into them. These lenses are clear, not tinted, so the only way you’ll know they offer this protection is if it’s stated on the package or your doctor tells you.
While UV-protecting contact lenses offer a huge benefit to the eyes, they’re unfortunately not a substitute for sunglasses. That’s because they don’t shield the eyelid tissue from UV light. They also don’t offer protection against the brightness, which can contribute to light sensitivity, strain, and eye fatigue.
Use Daily Contact Lenses
Daily disposable contact lenses are an excellent alternative to reusable lenses. By wearing a fresh clean lens every single day, you can prevent bacteria and buildup on your lenses from irritating your eyes.
When you wear reusable lenses, they must be cleaned every night. Most people don’t do a great job of this at the end of a long day. Some of that debris can get carried over to the next day of wear. Over the course of 2 weeks or a month, lenses can become uncomfortable, causing red, dry, irritated eyes.
Switch to Eyeglasses Sometimes
Many contact lens wearers wear their lenses for all their waking hours, for the average person, this can add up to 16 hours a day. That means you’re wearing your contacts more often than needed, and the only time your eyes get to recover is during sleep.
During the summer, those long days of contact lens wear might get even longer, leaving your eyes without a break. Wearing glasses instead of contacts gives your eyes a chance to breathe and recover. Try to find at least one day a week where you wear your glasses, or make a routine out of taking your lenses out earlier in the evening, they’ll thank you!
Use Eye Drops
Contact lenses can cause dry eyes. Using artificial tears throughout the day can help to keep your contacts lubricated, which in turn minimizes dryness of the eyes. If you’re putting drops in while you’re wearing lenses, make sure the bottle is marked safe for use with contact lenses, and/or preservative-free.
What Not to Do If You Wear Contact Lenses in Summer
Here are some “don’ts” when it comes to wearing your contacts in the summer.
Don’t Swim in Lakes and Pools
You might be wondering, can you wear contacts at the beach? The answer to this one is tricky. While you can certainly wear them at the beach, you can’t swim in them due to the risk of infection. This holds true for any body of water, whether it be a lake, river, ocean, or pool.
Don’t Sit under A/C
You may have noticed how drying air conditioning can be. It dries out your nose, skin, and eyes. This is made even worse when the A/C blows directly on you. Cloudy contact lenses in summer can be caused by dryness. High moisture contact lenses won't help with this. Try staying away from the vents, or better yet, avoid A/C altogether.
Sunscreen Might Be the Problem
While we would never discourage you from wearing sunscreen, you’ll want to avoid having it drip into your eyes as much as possible. Sunscreen can coat your contacts and get trapped in your eyes, causing stinging, redness, and irritation. Try wearing a headband or hat to wick away sweat before it reaches your eyes. Wearing a waterproof sunscreen may also help.
The air on airplanes is particularly dry, causing contact lenses to dry out even more. You may be better off wearing your glasses if you are a frequent flier, especially on longer journeys. Using artificial tears during the flight can help too, as can staying hydrated.
So, can you wear contacts to the beach? By all means, yes! Just wear daily disposables with UV protection, along with sunglasses, and don’t swim in them. Instill artificial tears occasionally, and give your eyes a break from time to time. Following these Kraff Eye Institute tips should help you wear your contact lenses more comfortably and enjoy those long summer days. Contact us for additional information!