November 20, 2015 8:16 PM MST - Subscription purchasing, account maintenance, forum profile maintenance, new account registration, and forum posting have been disabled
as we prepare our databases for the final migration to our new server next week. Stay tuned here for more details.
Subscribe Contribute Advertise Facebook Twitter Instagram Forums Newsletter
Contact lenses: a friendly warning (that has nothing to do with hygiene).
Display Avatars Sort By:
Bogs and Bergs
(Islandized) - F

Locale: Newfoundland
Contact lenses: a friendly warning (that has nothing to do with hygiene). on 04/21/2013 18:53:41 MDT Print View

I wore 'high permeability' contacts every day for many years and tended to leave them in for a few nights at a time when sleeping outdoors. I just used eyedrops and never had a problem. Then one day I started to feel like I had something in my eye, all the time.

The cornea, explained the eye doctor, is supposed to get its oxygen directly from the air. Even the most permeable lenses in the world will interfere to some extent. Corneal neovascularization is what happens when oxygen deprivation occurs too often or for too long and the body responds by growing brand new blood vessels right into the cornea itself. These new vessels are very uncomfortable under a contact lens (which will damage and scar them), and they also mess up night vision, because when the pupil dilates these blood vessels are in the way. The good news is that they will eventually become redundant and go dormant if oxygen is restored. The bad news is that they ONLY go dormant, and they'll be quick to come back if the need arises.

I had never heard of corneal neovascularization, I always thought hygiene and infection were the big concerns with contacts. According to this doctor, we have a lifetime quota of contact lens wear, and the quicker we use it up the sooner we have to quit. After ten months, I can now wear them again -- but not for as long and not as often, certainly not overnight. Or I'll feel like I have something in my eye.

So, um, yeah, watch out for that.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Contact lenses: a friendly warning (that has nothing to do with hygiene). on 04/21/2013 19:05:19 MDT Print View

Thanks for sharing Bogs. I'm not a contact wearer, but I appreciate the info nonetheless!

Mark Russell

Locale: Texas
Contacts on 04/21/2013 19:27:58 MDT Print View

I had the onset of this issue as a firefighter, at night I'd wear my contacts to sleep since it wouldn't be an issue to wake up and run out the door. However, they started causing issues with my eyes, especially working 48 hours at a time. I eventually ended up just getting the rx insert for my SCBA mask, and wore my Oakley rx glasses to non fire calls. Contacts and I never really completely got on good terms.

contacts on 04/21/2013 19:49:21 MDT Print View

I started wearing contacts in high school, daily wear was all parents would afford back then in the early 80s.

In college, I ripped one, actually I screwed the case lid onto one. So, after 2 yrs of wearing daily lenses, I got exteneded wear. The CSI lenses I had then were about $100 each then, and were supposed to be able to wear for up to 30 days, then take out and clean. These lenses were as thin as a piece of handi-wrap.

Well, with college being what it is, I never had a chance to take out and clean and disenfect overnight, etc. So I usually wore several months at a a time. Once, I went a solid year without taking them out. My eyes actually hurt when I took them out.

They got cloudy from protein deposits that could not be removed. Eventually I had to replace them every year because they just got cloudy from deposits and vision was impacted slightly. Protein remover did nothing.

After about 7 yrs, all of a sudden my eyelids became allergic to the deposits on them, and would build deposits very quickly and my eyelids got itchy and swollen. So I had to quit wearing them overnight, switched to the cheap disposeable lenses and took them out every night. Eventually, it was too much hassle, I quit wearing them for anything besides scuba diving and snow skiing. For everything else I just wore my glasses.

The cheap disposeable lenses were never anywhere near as comfortable as the extended wear I used to have. They were noticeable thicker and less comfortable. To this day, my eyelids still are allergic to the deposits, even if I havent worn a contact in several yrs. If I put it in, I cant leave it in overnight.

The one thing I really miss, is being able to cut onions without eyes burning. Contacts kept that from happening.

Edited by livingontheroad on 04/21/2013 19:51:00 MDT.

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Re: Contact lenses: a friendly warning (that has nothing to do with hygiene). on 04/21/2013 19:54:52 MDT Print View

I never understood the people who could leave contacts in overnight (jealous, actually). It doesn't matter which brand I wear, those damn things are coming out of my eyeball within 12 hours or I get to be one cranky SOB as the start to give me a headache and burning eyes.

Clayton Mauritzen
(GlacierRambler) - F

Locale: NW Montana
Re: Re: Contact lenses: a friendly warning (that has nothing to do with hygiene). on 04/21/2013 19:59:09 MDT Print View

I have the extended wear lenses, and I asked my eye doc about this specifically. It sounds like the newer lenses they have come out with in the last few years have significantly higher permeability, and there is little difference in oxygenation versus with the eyes closed while sleeping.

Obviously, I'm no expert in this area, so take that for what its worth. But, that does remind me that I need to take my lenses out and clean them tonight. I should go ahead and do that right now----.

spelt with a t
(spelt) - F

Locale: SW/C PA
Re: Re: Contact lenses: a friendly warning (that has nothing to do with hygiene). on 04/21/2013 20:07:56 MDT Print View

+1 Travis. I can't even take a 15 minute nap in mine.

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Re: Re: Re: Contact lenses: a friendly warning (that has nothing to do with hygiene). on 04/21/2013 20:49:23 MDT Print View

+1 Spelt!

Same here. Nap? Gotta take out the eyeball saran-wrap first.

Adam Rothermich
(aroth87) - F

Locale: Missouri Ozarks
Re: Re: Re: Re: Contact lenses: a friendly warning (that has nothing to do with hygiene). on 04/21/2013 21:14:32 MDT Print View

I've got the normal kind you're supposed to take out every night but I can get away with wearing them for a night or two with copious amounts of drops in the morning. I try to do this as little as possible, mostly just on weekend trips. On extended trips I've found its worth the extra effort to take them out nightly. Same goes for brushing my teeth, on weekends I'll just skip it, any longer and I bring the necessary equipment.

My dentist and eye doctor both get onto me about it.


Susan Papuga
(veganaloha) - M

Locale: USA
Re: Contact lenses: a friendly warning (that has nothing to do with hygiene). on 04/22/2013 16:32:55 MDT Print View

I have the original Acuvue extended wear, disposable lenses. However, I use them as daily wear and always take them out at night, unless I fall asleep accidentally. Because of that, if I try and sleep in them while BPing, my eyes get very irritated within a few days. I try and make sure my hands are very clean when handling them, but last year on the JMT, my eyes got scratchy and dry, so I had to just wear my glasses jnstead of contacts for the last half of the trip.

Since I then couldn't wear sunglasses, my eyes were still a little sore despite my wide-brimmed hat. So now I have chosen to get an Rx set of prescription sun glasses. I am toying with the idea of just leaving the contacts at home for my next trip, which is the southern portion of the PCT. I can anticipate that the desert climate, sand, etc won't work well for handling contacts every morning and night. Not to mention the early starts, and I am NOT a good early-morning person!

So any thoughts on my plan for the desert? Trade off is by wearing contacts, I can wear non-Rx sunglasses, that wrap-around more and thus have better sun protection. But with contacts, I risk, infection, etc that would force me into regular glasses, not sunglasses. I don't want to carry contacts and stuff, eyeglasses, sunglasses and Rx sunglasses to cover it all. So right now, again, my plan is one pair of Rx glasses with transitions lenses so I have clear and dark, polarized lenses in one frame.


Edited by veganaloha on 04/22/2013 16:37:14 MDT.

Erik Basil

Locale: Atzlan
Take 'em out! on 04/22/2013 17:00:14 MDT Print View

Mine will fog up with protein if I leave them in, so I either take them out every night on trail with clean hands, or use disposables. For the disposables, I just ask my doctor for a "sample pack" and he gives me 14 days of throw-away lenses. Then, I carry no saline and just pitch my lenses every night into my wag bag -- fresh set in the AM and glasses in between.

I prefer the contacts for the peripheral vision, clarity and ability to use my sunglasses of choice. I've been down the path with prescription sunglasses and magic-changing lenses on my specs and prefer contacts whenever possible. I've popped lenses in and out in all kinds of weather and the only two real keys are clean water for clean hands and a windbreak.

Diane Pinkers
(dipink) - MLife

Locale: Western Washington
transition lenses on 04/22/2013 17:28:38 MDT Print View

Love the Transition lenses. I wear glasses all the time, never contacts, but the Transition lenses I never have to carry sunglasses. One caveat: I've never hiked in them above 8,000 ft, so I don't know if they would be strong enough in the Sierras. Never have an issue, and I have sensitive eyes, and have to use drops for dry eyes.

Barry P
(BarryP) - F

Locale: Eastern Idaho (moved from Midwest)
Re: Contact lenses: a friendly warning (that has nothing to do with hygiene). on 04/22/2013 17:57:03 MDT Print View

Oh I miss my contacts. I wore them over night from age 18 to 44. It was great waking up and instantly focusing. But I probably have what the OP said, or my eyes are changing for old age (7 grandkids now).

So now I wear Takumi magnetic eyewear. It comes with a 0.12oz magnetic-clip-on sunglass--- the lightest I’ve ever seen. And they gave me a 0.76oz felt-inside case with a nice magnetic latch that I store both in at night.

When I go from sunny to walking-in-dark woods, I can instantly take off my clip on and store it in my case that I keep in my shirt pocket.

But I still miss the contacts and that sharp peripheral vision.

-The mountains were made for Tevas

John Harper
(johnnyh88) - MLife

Locale: The SouthWest
Re: Contact lenses: a friendly warning (that has nothing to do with hygiene) on 04/22/2013 18:50:37 MDT Print View

Maybe one day I'll be able to afford Lasik.

Until then, it will be glasses for dry, dusty, and windy trips. And contacts for everything else. I like the peripheral vision and freedom of contacts, but tend to wear glasses most of the time because they make my eyes feel better.

Regarding hiking in desert areas, I got an ulcer in my left cornea about 6 years ago from a piece of dust that got trapped under my lens. It went from being a little irritating in the evening to almost unable to see in the morning (light sensitivity). Since then, if my contacts bother me even a little bit, they get taken out before going to bed!

Mike In Socal
(rcmike) - MLife

Locale: California
Neovascularization on 04/23/2013 00:23:28 MDT Print View

My optometrist would warn me about that (neovascularization) and my eyes would start to show it when my contacts reached about a year old (I can't wear the daily disposables; I have to have custom lenses made for astigmatism). In any case, I don't sleep in them. I take them out every night and put up with having to bring the saline, mirror, contact case and backup glasses. I do have a routine though when backpacking, which helps. Before taking out my contacts, I wash my hands with soap (biodegradable), then hand sanitizer, then rinse with water again. Then, sitting with a towel in my lap, I take out each lens, clean and put them away. In the morning, the first thing I do before I start touching stuff is to rinse my hands with a little water, then put in my contacts while sitting with a towel in my lap in case I drop a lens. A 4 oz bottle of saline lasts me 5 days.

Nick Larsen
(stingray4540) - F

Locale: South Bay
Re: Contact lenses: on 04/23/2013 06:43:39 MDT Print View

Had to switch to daily disposables myself after the underside of my eyelids started getting inflamed and building caluses. Got to the point, I couldn't go without my contacts or the pain was too great to bare, but with contacts in, it felt like I had something in my eye.

2 months of steroid and antihistamine drops later, I'll never purposely sleep in contacts again.

Optomologist that I went to for that emergency visit, said he never recomends anything but daily disposables. The "high permiability", "day/night" contacts, etc. are a marketing gimick and are dangerous.

I learned my lesson.

On the down side, if you accidentally fall asleep in daily disposables, they can stick to your eyeball. Almost had a panick attack the first time it happened, but it's an easy fix after all.

Christopher Gutwein
(syntax) - MLife
No more overnight for me on 04/23/2013 08:49:44 MDT Print View

I don't know if I reached my limit or just got older. When I was in the teens I'd wear my contacts for 3-4 days at a time all the time. Then I went through those poor college no insurance days and when I finally put in a pair 5 years later I can wear them 6-8 hours comfortably now is all. I left them in all day once to go to an amusement park and it was a bad day. When I fell asleep on the bus ride home one folded in half in my eye slid up, I was in pain for the next 3 hours, no stops, and no way to get it out.

John Hillyer
(TrNameLucky) - MLife
Switch to Air Optix Night & Day Aqua by CIBA Vision on 06/07/2013 21:04:45 MDT Print View

Try switching to Air Optix Night & Day Aqua by CIBA Vision. They allow much more oxygen to pass through. You will need a prescription from a doctor for these lenses to buy them.