Quick Guide to Wearing Contact Lenses When Working In an Office
Contact lenses are perhaps the most successful medical device ever created. They help 10s of millions of people around the world see clearly while freeing them from the need to wear limiting and sometimes ponderous eyeglasses. However, because contacts are very much assistive medical devices they need to be worn only as directed and should never be taken for granted. You must always be aware of potential conflicts of interest between your contact lenses and the environment.
Although most people don’t think of the office as posing any sort of problems for their contacts (and by extension their eyes), there are actually a number of potential issues you need to be aware of when wearing contacts while working in an office.
- Don’t rub your eyes - Hours spent staring at a computer screen can leave anyone’s eyes red and irritated. This is especially true for wearers of contact lenses, especially monthly contact lenses. Since the contacts already tend to dry out the surface of the eye a bit this effect is magnified by staring at the computer screen. The natural reflex will be to rub your irritated eyes but you should make sure you don’t. Rubbing your eyes with your contacts in could possibly scratch the cornea and lead to discomfort and potential vision problems down the road.
- Drink plenty of water - As we just mentioned contacts have a tendency to dry out the surface of the eye. This effect is aggravated by staring at computer screens and by the dry, conditioned air prevalent in modern offices. The best way to prevent your eyes from drying out behind your contacts is to drink plenty of water during the day. Always have a bottle at your desk and don’t be shy about drinking from it regularly.
- Keep your glasses handy - There may come a time when all that air conditioning and staring at the computer screen just leaves your eyes too dry and irritated. In such cases, the best thing to do may be to remove your contacts. But you can’t really do that if you don’t have your glasses with you. Always keep a pair of glasses at the office or bring them with you wherever you go, just in case.
- Always keep artificial tears close by - Regardless of how much water you drink you should still keep a bottle of artificial tears in your desk or on your person in case you need them. In fact, putting artificial tears in your eyes before you install your contacts is a great way to minimize dry eye problems. Be mindful though that not all artificial tear formulas are considered ideal for those who wear contacts. Make certain to read the label to be sure your artificial tears are contacts-safe.
- Wear protective goggles - Some office jobs require us to interact with industrial processes. The last thing you want is for a tiny piece of dirt or debris to get lodged behind your contact lenses. But this can easily happen if you need to venture out into the warehouse or onto the production floor for some reason. In such cases remember to always wear protective eye gear in order to prevent tiny contaminants from creating big problems.
- Replace your contacts on schedule - It’s easy to get complacent when it comes to replacing your contact lenses. But this type of complacency can be dangerous. Your contacts are designed to be replaced at a certain time, whether it’s every day (dailies contact lenses), (check out our popular 1 day Acuvue moist / clariti one day from Coopervision or once a week or once a month. Failing to do so will only make any issues you encounter in the office worse than they need to be and could lead to vision problems down the road that might make it impossible for you to continue to wear contacts.
- Let others know you wear contacts - Sometimes we start itching our eyes with our contacts in without even being aware of it. It’s just a natural reaction to dry eyes. But, as we’ve seen, itching your eyes while wearing contacts is a very bad idea. If others around you are aware you wear contacts and they see you rubbing away they can potentially alert you to it and save you eye problems down the road.
Follow the above tips and you should have a long happy relationship with your contact lenses.