Can you wear contacts to the beach?
Summer is here, and with it come fresh, new perils for your contact lenses! During the summer months, contact lens wearers should take extra care to make sure they are practicing proper care for the lenses and their eye health - that includes leaving your contact lenses at home during your next trip to the beach.
The beach environment can pose many different risks both to the quality of your contact lenses as well as to the health of your eyes. Swimming, regardless of the type of water you’re swimming in, is an activity that you should avoid while wearing your contact lenses.
All kinds of water, whether tap, pool or ocean water, contains traces of potentially harmful microbes that can get trapped between your contact lenses and your eyes, and can give rise to infection. In some cases, when contact lenses become contaminated through contact with bacteria, the microorganisms become trapped on the lenses and can result in vision loss.
So, if you decided to wear your lenses while swimming, and they came into contact with water, you should remove and discard them right away, and replace them with another pair of daily contact lenses. If possible, you should also try to rinse out your eyes with eye drops. But, how long do contacts last? Isn’t it a waste to throw them away even if you don’t feel any irritation? Most contacts are made for daily, bi-weekly, or monthly use, and you can always restock your supply of contacts online.
What if sunscreen burns your eyes with contacts in?
Even if you don’t plan on getting in the water, wearing your lenses to the beach is still not a great idea - seawater isn’t the only thing that can contaminate your lenses and infect your eyes. Take extra care when applying sunscreen, if it drips into your eyes it can cause a painful stinging sensation and contaminate your lenses.
It’s important to protect your body from the damaging effects of the sun’s rays. When you are applying sunscreen on your face, make sure that you take care to avoid getting sunscreen in your eyes, and make sure to keep any sweat from running in your eyes.
What happens if you get sand in your eye?
On blustery days at the beach, you should take extra precautions to shield your eyes from windswept sand. Sand in your eyes can cause irritation to your eyes and abrasions to the lenses or the corneas, especially if the sand gets between your eyes and the lenses or if you try to rub the sand out. Once you feel sand in your eyes, immediately rinse your eyes out with a saline solution and remove your lenses if possible. If you’re asking yourself "can you use contact solution as eye drops", the answer is no – you should always use re-hydrating drops. Avoid rubbing your eyes, since this can cause further damage and may increase the risk of eye infection. Call your eye doctor immediately if you feel eye irritation that does not subside.
Can you wear contacts in a tanning bed?
Since tanning beds don’t pose the same risks as a beach setting, it’s generally ok for you to wear your lenses when inside - just be sure to carry re-hydrating drops with you in case the warmth of the bed dries out your eyes.