Smoke Gets In Your Eyes
I have a great friend who is a bartender. She’s as blind as a bat without vision correction but she hates wearing her coke bottle glasses. I tell her I think her fashion frame is stylish, but I can see how those thick, thick lenses could be annoying (and heavy).
She doesn’t smoke but many of her customers do. And although I knew this from my own contact lens wearing experience, second hand smoke can cause some pretty serious lens discomfort problems for us!
In fact, a study was published a few years ago that showed how even brief exposure (walking through the bar to the bathroom, for instance) can make your contacts uncomfortable and affect your eyes.
The study took place in Tokyo, Japan where they evaluated contact lens wearers and non-lens wearers. They then exposed both groups passively to cigarette smoke for 5 minutes.
Afterwards they measured their eyes on metrics like tear evaporation, film break-up time, moisture, and damage to surface cells.
The findings showed that even brief exposure to cigarette smoke was harder on the eyes of the contact lens wearers than on the eyes of the non-lens wearers.
So, what should you do if you wear contacts but know that sometimes contact with second-hand smoke will be inevitable? Here are a few recommendations:
Keep Them Wet
Keep your lenses as moist as possible. Keep a good quality lens rewetting drop on-hand and drink plenty of water so your eyes can stay naturally moist, too. If your eyes look red, irritated, or feel especially scratchy or dry, you may need to take your lenses out and allow some time for your eyes’ natural moisture to return.
If you know you’ll be in an environment that’s really smokey, consider wearing your glasses. If that’s not an option, try to position yourself as far away as possible from direct lines of smoke or try to find a spot near a door or window for better ventilation. Close your eyes and blink often to help your eyes stay comfortable.
Ask For New Lenses
Ask your optometrist if he can recommend some contacts that are designed for dry eyes. If you know you will regularly be in smokey environments, this could be the best option to keep your eyes from getting red and irritated.
If second hand smoke is cramping your contact lens style, ask your optometrist at your closest America’s Best to recommend some options that may work for you.