After enduring a long, cold winter and rainy spring, we know you’re looking forward to spending some time soaking up the sun this summer. You might find yourself daydreaming about hitting the beach, spending the day on a boat, taking a vacation, or simply enjoying time outside. Whatever your ideal warm-weather plans may be, it’s important to take the time to prioritize your eye health, especially if you wear contact lenses.
With an estimated 45 million people in the United States wearing contact lenses, taking proper care of your eyes is something that cannot be overlooked. Care can be as simple as packing your sunglasses for a day at the beach or avoiding swimming while wearing your contacts. Get your shades ready, because there’s no reason you shouldn’t be able to care for your eyes while enjoying time in the sun.
To make the most of your summer plans, we’re sharing how best to care for your contact lenses, including tips on preparing for warm-weather activities, as well as some guidelines on what to do and what not to do in order to protect your eyes.
Tips to Prepare for Summer Fun
Picture this: you arrive at your rented beach or lake house for the weekend, only to realize you forgot to refill your contact lens prescription. While that’s one way to ruin the fun, there are simple precautions and preparations you can take in order to make your eye health the last thing you worry about this summer.
To make things even easier, we’re breaking down how best to prepare for your upcoming adventures so that you don’t need to think twice about it. Keep reading to learn what to do before you embark on any plans.
Keep Your Prescription Up-to-Date
There’s nothing a bit of planning ahead can’t solve! Check your contact lens prescription to see when it expires. If that date coincides with a trip you have planned, you should make an appointment with your doctor in advance so that you aren’t scrambling at the last minute. By keeping your contact lens prescription up-to-date, you can alleviate potential last-minute stress and keep yourself wearing the right contacts all summer long.
Refill, Refill, Refill!
If you’re planning a trip away or spending a day by the beach or pool, make sure to pack extra contact lenses. If you need to, refill your lenses a week or two before your plans so that you’re all set when you need them. Keep in mind that if you wear daily lenses, it is recommended that you pack 7-8 pairs of contact lenses for a five-day trip. This gives you enough to get you through each day, plus a few extras in the case of unforeseen circumstances.
Keep Contacts Close
If you’re flying somewhere fun, taking a road trip, or heading out on a day-long excursion this summer, make sure to keep your contact lenses nearby and easily accessible. It would be extremely inconvenient to be on a long flight or car ride, only to realize your lenses or your case are packed away at the bottom of your suitcase. To plan ahead, pack your contact lenses and case in your carry-on bag, backpack or purse so that you don’t get stuck without them, or have to pull the car over to go searching through the trunk.
Do This to Keep Your Eyes Safe This Summer
With so many opportunities for outdoor activities, like concerts, picnics in the park, watersports, and more, protecting your eyes may not be your top priority. However, if you just take a few precautions, you’ll be well on your way to having fun in the sun in a safe and healthy manner. Below are some things you can do to keep your eyes and contact lenses safe this summer.
Looking for a guilt-free way to add to your wardrobe? Get some sunglasses! Not only are sunglasses a stylish way to accessorize in the summer, but they are also necessary in protecting your eyes from the sun’s harmful rays. Another benefit for contact-wearers is that sunglasses protect your eyes from dry winds and debris or insects blowing in the wind. Additionally, if you have sensitivity to light, it is recommended that you wear sunglasses while outside.
Store Your Lens Cases in a Cool Place
While contact lenses can be more comfortable and convenient than wearing glasses in the hot weather or at the beach, it’s smart to store your lens case in a cool, dry place. If left in the heat, your contact lens case containing solution can have an increased risk of breeding bacteria, such as E. coli and salmonella. You can reduce this risk by finding a cool place upon arrival to your destination, and keeping your lens case there while you’re off enjoying the sun.
Bring Extra Contacts Along
You may have remembered to refill your contact lenses, however, it’s equally as important to remember to pack them! Don’t forget to carry extra contacts during summer excursions, especially if you’ll be swimming at all during your trip. Consider packing an extra pair for each day you’ll spend in the water. Additionally, if you are able to wear glasses, it’s smart to bring those to use as well if your eyes become irritated or tired while wearing contacts.
Don’t Do This to Keep Your Eyes Safe This Summer
You’ve likely worked hard in school or in your career this past year, so summer can be a time to let loose and depart from your daily routine. However, there are certain things that those who wear contact lenses should avoid.
Don’t Swim in Contacts
While it may seem like you can wear your contact lenses anywhere, there are some situations where they should be removed. To play it safe, avoid wearing contact lenses while swimming in pools or the ocean, taking a shower, or going for a dip in the hot tub, as these locations can be breeding grounds for infections such as acanthamoeba, an organism that can cause sight-threatening infections. If you have a strong urge to swim and removing your contact lenses is not an option, try wearing a tight-fitting swimming mask or goggles as an added precaution.
Don’t Sleep with Contacts
Although you may be exhausted from a long day of adventuring in the sun, or you want to take a nap at the beach, you should not let yourself fall asleep while wearing your contacts. Sleeping with contacts in can increase your risk of getting an infection by six to eight times. If you’re worried about dozing off in your contacts, set an alarm on your phone to alert you when it’s time to remove them. Also, if you plan to sleep on the plane when traveling, don’t forget to take your lenses out first!
Don’t Get Sunscreen in your Eyes
Sunscreen is a necessary part of any summertime outing or trip. While it may seem like common sense to avoid getting sunscreen in your eyes, accidents can happen. If you do begin to experience a burning sensation as a result of getting lotion or spray in your eye, follow these simple steps:
- Remove your contacts and dispose of them (if they are soft lenses)
- Rinse your eyes out with cool water
- Wash your face thoroughly, paying special attention around your eyes
- Apply more sunscreen, this time avoiding the areas near your eyes
- Wash your hands carefully
- Pop in a clean pair of contacts!
Summer Fun Awaits!
With summer quickly approaching, you deserve to enjoy yourself and have some fun! That being said, there’s no reason your contact lenses should hold you back from basking in your warm-weather plans, whether that be a long-awaited vacation or an afternoon at the beach. By taking proper precautions, and following the aforementioned tips, you can make the most of your plans while also prioritizing your eye health and contact lens care.
If you’re looking for more information, check out some of our recent blogs for additional tips on what to do and what not to do while wearing contact lenses. If you have any questions, contact your eye doctor for more information.