Contact lenses are popular for a number of reasons. They don’t:
- Affect your appearance.
- Get in the way of active sports.
- Affect your peripheral vision.
- Advertise your need for vision correction.
All of this is well and good. However, contacts do impact your life. Specifically, they require an exacting daily maintenance routine of cleaning to avoid getting an eye infection. Equally important is a daily limit to how long you can wear them without suffering eye health problems. In addition, there are situations where it’s safer and more convenient to simply take them off. Here is why:
Your Eyes Need to Breathe
Your first thoughts to eyes “needing to breathe” might be that we have lungs and a circulatory system for providing oxygen to the cells of the body. While this is true for most of the body’s cells, an exception are the cells of the cornea. The cornea is the transparent layer of the eye that allows light into the eye’s lens. It isn’t fed oxygen from the blood like other tissues of the body because that would require blood vessels, which would block light from entering the eye.
Instead, oxygen dissolves in the tear fluid covering the eye’s surface. This oxygen then diffuses directly into the cornea. The tear fluid also removes carbon dioxide from the cornea. In other words, the cornea needs to breathe. Contact lenses interfere with this breathing process and must be removed after about 8 hours. Insufficient oxygen causes the cornea to form scars. In addition, the body attempts to make up for the lack of oxygen by growing new blood vessels over the cornea. This blocks light from entering the eye.
Limiting contact use to eight hours per day leaves eight or nine waking hours without vision correction unless you own a pair of glasses. Although you may prefer a “glasses free” look, there’s no reason you can’t wear a stylish pair of glasses that enhance your appearance in ways you might not have considered before. Again, this new look is only for your off hours and is preferable to not having any vision correction at all. You might consider getting rimless glasses with a thin frame. This will have a minimal effect on your appearance.If you spend your off hours outdoors, you need sunglasses for UV protection in any case. It makes sense to get a pair of Nike prescription sunglasses with a transition lens that self adjusts its tint according to your sunlight exposure. The tint lightens up when you don’t need it, such as on overcast days or indoors.
Vacationing in Warm Climates with Contacts Is Risky
Many people find it difficult to maintain proper contact lens hygiene when vacationing. Contact lens care quickly falls victim to the interruption of the usual routines and to the distractions of the vacation experience. This may cause vacationers to wear their lenses continuously or take short cuts by using local tap water to clean their contacts.
The consequences of failing to remove contacts were discussed above. Cleaning contacts with tap water instead of cleaning fluid exposes the eyes to micro-organism infection. All tap water contains micro-organisms, and, while harmless when drinking them, they can attack the cornea or infiltrate small tears in its surface. This problem is especially acute in warm climates because the warmth accelerates micro-organism reproduction.
Exposure to beach sand or to windy/dusty environments also increase the danger of getting a tiny grain of sand trapped under the contact against the eye. The abrasion against the cornea wears it down and causes ulcers.
Vacationing in the summer requires sunglasses for protection against UV and sun glare. Again, it only makes sense to forgo contact lenses in favor of Nike prescription sunglasses. Finally, the eight-hour rule applies regardless of whether you’re at home or on vacation. You’ll have to take a break from your contacts in any case. So why not get a pair of Nikes?
To take full advantage of what we have to offer in prescription glasses, contact us. We will gladly help you out.