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Can I Wear Contact Lenses in Extreme Cold?

All about Daily Disposable Contact Lenses and Other Contact Lenses for Winter

woman wearing white hood in winter smiling showing white teeth

Frigid winter winds blow into your face, but you’re warm beneath by your scarf and hat. Yet for obvious reasons, your eyes peek out from between your winter gear. As you glide down the slopes or even walk down the sidewalk on a blustery day, you wonder about your contact lenses. Questions whirl around your head with the cold winds, such as: Do contact lenses freeze? Should I wear my contact lenses for winter sports? Is it better to use daily disposable contact lenses?

Dr. James Vann, your expert eye doctor in Fulton, MO, answers your questions on how to keep your eyes healthy and comfortable while wearing contact lenses in the winter.

Which Type of Contact Lenses Are Best for Winter?

Both the cold outdoor air and indoor heating can lead to dry eyes. But for your eyes to stay comfortable with contact lenses, you need to keep them moist. A variety of contact lens types are available for different needs. A lens that is specialized for dry eyes may be a good option for you to wear during the winter season. Convenient daily disposable contact lenses may also be a suitable choice to wear on your winter holiday. Because everyone’s eyes and needs are unique, our advice is to contact your Fulton, MO, eye doctor to receive a personalized contact lenses recommendation.

Do Contact Lenses Freeze?

Below zero temperatures may irritate your contact lenses, but no worries – they will not freeze or get stuck to your eyes. Back in the 1980s, a military study was conducted on rabbits, in which they fitted winter bunnies with hard contact lenses and exposed them to fast and freezing winds. The contact lenses did not freeze, and happily, the rabbits did not exhibit any other dangerous symptoms.

How Can I Protect My Eyes During the Winter?

Sunglasses are not just for summer. All year round, sunglasses will keep your eyes safe from the elements. Even on cloudy days, harmful UV rays shine and pose a risk to your ocular health. Take care to choose sunglasses that feature full UV protection and cover as much of the area around your eyes as possible, such as wraparound styles.

Should I Wear Contact Lenses for Winter Sports?

Contacts can improve your visual clarity, enhance peripheral vision and depth perception, and thereby put the winning edge on your winter sports performance. However, not all contact lenses are created equal. When you pack up for a ski vacation, ask your optometrist about the advantages of wearing daily disposable contact lenses. Some are also equipped with UV filters for additional protection.

Remember, if you are wearing contact lenses for winter sports, put on a pair of non-prescription goggles or protective eyewear to complete your outfit and stay healthy.

It is a Cloudy Day with No Wind. Do I Still Need Goggles Over My Contact Lenses?

You may be surprised to learn that eyes can suffer a sunburn, even when the skies aren’t clear and you’re not lying on a sandy beach. In fact, skiing or engaging in any icy winter activities without wearing goggles is a common cause of sunburnt eyes, officially termed “photokeratitis.” That’s because snow and ice can reflect UV rays (even when it’s overcast), making these dangerous rays more powerful.

When the cornea gets burnt, it can result in extreme soreness and blurry vision for up to a few days. This condition usually clears up on its own, but you cannot wear contact lenses as your eyes heal. If you think you have photokeratitis, contact your local Fulton, MO, eye doctor for an eye exam and medication to help alleviate the pain until your eyes are back to normal.

Why Are My Eyes Watery in the Winter?

Although it sounds contradictory, dry eyes often water. Basically, any irritant that makes contact with your eyes – including dryness – can stimulate your tearing reflex. When the winter winds blow across the surface layer of your cornea and over your contact lenses, they evaporate the moisture. In response, your tear glands kick into high drive to restore the lubrication.

Protective eyeglasses or goggles can help prevent excess tears from flowing when you are wearing contact lenses in extreme cold. You can also apply saline eye drops or artificial tears before heading outside. When you’re indoors, a humidifier will also improve your condition.

Call us today: 573-642-6800  or book an appointment online to see one of our Fulton eye doctors for eye exam & contacts lenses prescription.