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Water, Water Everywhere

In the second part of our series of what YOU actually do, I am curious to see what YOU do with your contacts when it comes to water.

We know that tap water is terrible for contact lenses and can cause the dreaded acanthamoeba. What about showering with your contact lenses in? If your patient is a -12.00 or a +6.00, what do you tell them? Shower without any contacts in? Good luck seeing anything, especially if you are a hyperope. Can you honestly expect someone with a +6.00 prescription to take a shower without accidentally mistaking the shampoo for conditioner or even see anything at all inside the shower for that matter? What do YOU tell these patients? I am curious.

What about swimming?

What about swimming in the ocean or the lake? If you have someone that is a -12.00 or a high hyperope, the same question applies. Do you really expect someone with that high of an Rx to not go snorkeling, not wear their contact lenses on the boat or not go swimming in the ocean? I guess you can always wear your glasses if you are on the boat, but what if you wanted to get in the water?

If you cannot see hardly anything without your glasses on and you are swimming and can’t find your way back to the boat, what is the lesser of two evils – swimming with your contacts and risking a major eye infection that could lead to permanent vision loss or swimming without any correction and not being able to see anything around you as you tread water? These are difficult situations. In school, we are taught that water is basically death for contacts and we are highly advised against contact lens wear and any sort of water. But what do you honestly tell patients in these tough situations?

Without contact lens solution?

What if your contact lens falls out at a restaurant or public outing and you have no contact lens solution and you cannot see anything? Do you go on blind for the night until you can get home? Leave the concert early to get home to see? Pop the contact lens back in? Use bottled water and rinse the lens for a last-ditch effort? I am curious about what you have done in these tough, inevitable situations.

Leave your comments below!

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Stephanie Woo
Associate Editor, Contact Lenses for Dr. Stephanie L. Woo was born and raised in Lake Havasu City, AZ. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Arizona and graduated with honors from the Southern California College of Optometry. She completed a Cornea and Contact Lens Residency at the University of Missouri, St. Louis, where she was trained to fit highly irregular corneas. She was the recipient of the Gas Permeable Lens Institute Award for Clinical Excellence and also the John R. Griffin Award for Excellence in Vision Therapy. Dr. Woo is a Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry and a Fellow of the Scleral Lens Society. She authored the Gas Permeable Lens Expert column in Review of Contact Lenses. She authored several articles for the Contact Lens and Cornea section of the American Optometric Association. Dr. Woo currently co-authors the GP Insights column for Contact Lens Spectrum, and she is an active GPLI advisory board member. Dr. Woo currently serves as Vice President of the Scleral Lens Society. Dr. Woo enjoys lecturing around the world on the subject of contact lenses and anterior segment disease. Dr. Woo is in private practice and owns Havasu Eye Center, Parker Vision Care, and Blythe Vision Care.