Can you wear contact lenses with sunglasses?

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As the summer sun beckons, many of us reach for our trusty contact lenses to navigate the longer days filled with outdoor adventures. But amidst the sun, sand, and surf, wearing contacts can pose unique challenges for our eyes. 

Don’t worry, for with a few simple precautions, you can enjoy the summer months without sacrificing comfort or clarity – be that with contact lenses, or a pair of fashionable prescription sunglasses.

Eye Care in Summer

Summer brings with it a plethora of leisure activities and opportunities to bask in the great outdoors. However, the combination of sunlight, wind, and outdoor elements can leave our eyes feeling fatigued, red, and irritated. But fret not, as there are steps you can take to keep your peepers in top condition.

  1. Shielding Your Eyes

The burning question on many minds: Can you wear sunglasses with contacts? The answer is a resounding yes—and it’s highly recommended, even on overcast days. Sunglasses not only protect your eyes from excessive light, enhancing visual comfort, but they also act as a barrier against wind, a common source of eye dryness and irritation.

Dr. Kraff emphasizes the benefits of polarized lenses in reducing eye strain caused by glare. Moreover, by shielding your eyes and the delicate skin surrounding them from harmful UV rays, sunglasses help lower the risk of cancer and minimize the formation of fine lines and wrinkles.

  1. Harnessing UV Protection

Do contact lenses provide UV protection? Surprisingly, some do. Certain brands of contact lenses come equipped with a built-in UV filter, offering an additional layer of defense against harmful rays. However, it’s essential to note that while these lenses safeguard the eyes, they do not shield the eyelid tissue from UV exposure or mitigate the effects of brightness, which can contribute to light sensitivity and eye fatigue.

  1. Opting for Daily Disposable Lenses

Daily disposable contact lenses offer a compelling alternative to reusable lenses, particularly during the summer months. By donning a fresh pair of lenses each day, you can circumvent the buildup of bacteria and debris that may lead to eye irritation. Unlike reusable lenses, which require nightly cleaning, daily disposables offer convenience and hygiene, ensuring optimal comfort throughout the day.

  1. Giving Your Eyes a Break

For many contact lens wearers, the temptation to don their lenses from dawn till dusk is strong. However, prolonged wear can leave your eyes feeling fatigued and dry, particularly during the summer when outdoor activities abound. Introducing regular breaks by switching to eyeglasses allows your eyes to rest and rejuvenate, promoting long-term ocular health.

  1. Nurturing Your Eyes

Contact lenses, while convenient, can exacerbate dry eye symptoms. Combat this issue by incorporating artificial tears into your daily routine to keep your lenses lubricated and your eyes refreshed. Ensure that the eye drops you use are compatible with contact lenses and free from preservatives to minimize the risk of irritation.

What Not to Do

While wearing contact lenses in summer is perfectly feasible, there are certain pitfalls to avoid to safeguard your eye health and comfort.

  • Swimming with Contacts: Despite their convenience, contact lenses should never be worn while swimming, be it in the ocean, a pool, or any body of water. The risk of infection far outweighs the convenience.
  • Air Conditioning Adversities: Beware of the drying effects of air conditioning, which can exacerbate dryness and discomfort, particularly when directed towards your face. Minimize exposure to A/C vents, or better yet, opt for natural ventilation whenever possible.
  • Sunscreen Sensitivity: While sunscreen is a summer essential, take care to prevent it from dripping into your eyes, as it can coat your contacts and lead to irritation. Consider wearing a headband or hat to divert sweat away from your eyes and opt for waterproof sunscreen formulations.
  • Airborne Drying: Airplane cabins are notorious for their dry air, which can exacerbate contact lens-related dryness. Consider wearing glasses during flights, particularly on longer journeys, and use artificial tears to keep your eyes hydrated.

Summer Lens Care Simplified

Wearing contact lenses during the summer months can be a breeze with the right precautions in place. Equip yourself with daily disposables featuring UV protection, complemented by stylish sunglasses, and remember to give your eyes periodic breaks by switching to glasses. By adhering to these guidelines, you can enjoy the sunny days of summer with clear vision and optimal eye comfort.

So, can you wear contacts to the beach? Absolutely—just remember to pair them with sunglasses, steer clear of water-based activities, and prioritize your eye health. Here’s to a summer filled with sunshine, adventure, and crystal-clear vision! 


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