Optometrist's Advice for Travelling and Sport Activities with Contact Lenses

1. How can we relieve dry eyes with contact lenses when having outdoor activities? Wearing contact lens while travelling is convenient. However, wearers may experience dryness after long hours of wear and feel uncomfortable when riding amusement facilities or bicycles.
It is advised for your eyes to take a break every 30 minute or use preservative-free eye drops designed for contact lens to relieve the dry feeling. Contact lens made of silicone hydrogel provide higher Oxygen transmissibility and can prevent tear evaporation and dry eyes.

2. Can we wear contact lenses for water activities? According to US FDA, contact lenses are not to be exposed to any kind of water including tap water, distilled water, lake or ocean water. It is safer to wear prescribed swimming goggles, but consumers need to be aware that the power between glasses and goggles might be different. Also, you can use anti-fog goggles or general goggles after cleaning with dishwashing liquid to ensure a clear vision in water.
If you choose to wear contact lenses in water, it is advised to wear daily disposable contact lens along with goggles. After getting ashore, you should take off the contact lens right away and rinse your eyes with artificial tears then change to a fresh pair of contact lenses or glasses.

3. The UV level is high or dangerous in summer. How can we protect our eyes from UV rays? Most people know that UV protection is important for skin but don’t know that it’s equally important for eyes. In particular, swimming and beach activities can over expose your eyes to UV which can lead to pterygium, cataract or Macular degeneration. You can protect your eyes from UV by wearing hats, sun glasses or contact lenses with UV protection. It will make your eyes more comfortable if UV-blocking contact lens wearers also put on a pair of UV400 or UV100% sunglasses to block off some light.

4. How can I care my eyes when travelling and playing sports with contact lenses? Contact lens wearers can easily over wear their lenses during travel due to a schedule filled with plenty of activities. Long hours of wearing for days in a roll might deprive your eyes from a proper break to get some air.
Do take off your contact lenses a few hours before going to bed. Choosing silicone hydrogel contact lens is one way to bring more oxygen to your eyes if you need to wear for long-hours. It will make your eyes breath more easily and decrease the possibility of red eyes, blurring vision or eye infections.
Contact lenses have many advantages for sports participants. Contact lenses give you a full field of vision and a freedom of movement without glasses and frame getting in the way.

5. Is there any makeup tip for wearing color contact lenses? The females often like to enhance their beauty with make ups or color contact lens. However, some tips can make your wearing experience healthier and safer. First, hairstyling before wearing contact lens can prevent hair sprays from contaminating your lens. When you feel any foreign object in eyes, do take off your lenses, and rinse your eyes and contacts with saline solution before putting back your lens. Also, taking off your contact lenses before removing your makeup can secure clean lens without any cosmetic materials smear onto your lenses.
Contact lenses should be prescribed by ophthalmologists or optometrists, and users should choose products with regulation number which ensures its pigment will not dissolve or flaking off. Also, color contact lens with higher Oxygen transmissibility can be another comfortable option for long-hour wearing.

About Dr. Helen Liaw

Helen is one of the few optometrists with US Doctor of Optometry degree in Taiwan. She is working in an eye clinic in Kaohsiung and serves as the secretary-general of the Optometry Society of Taiwan. She is devoted to improve the safety and health of contact lens wearers through consumer education and works hard to shape the professional landscape of optometry in Taiwan.