Seeing Your Best With Contact Lenses This Summer

Summer is here, which means longer days spent outside enjoying life on the coast—from sunrises on the beach to sunsets by the pool. And for many of us, contact lenses are necessary to fully enjoy these experiences. They provide us with more freedom than glasses, a better visual field, more confidence and even some UV protection. But in order for your contacts to provide you with the best visual clarity, they require your attention.

Exercising proper contact lens care is more important than ever during the summer. From protecting your contact lenses from water exposure to giving your eyes a break after several hours of wear, you can minimize complications and interruptions to your summer due to contact lens infections and other ocular issues that come from misuse.

Let’s review some of the most important parts of contact lens care to ensure you take it all in this summer!


Inserting and Removing Your Contact Lenses

There are several steps you must take to properly insert and remove your contact lenses. And while these steps are probably second nature to you, you may be tempted to skip a step or two every now and then. However, skipping even just one of the necessary steps puts you at risk for bacterial infections, irritation, permanent damage, and even blindness. Below is a quick review on what your contact lens routine should look like.

  • Always wash and dry your hands with a clean towel before handling your contact lenses, solution, or case.
  • Wash your lens case with solution (never water) and place it nearby.
  • Place one contact lens in the palm of your hand and wash it with solution.
  • Gently rub the lens together with two fingers to loosen any debris then rinse with more solution.
  • Place your lens in a solution-filled case when you are not wearing them.
  • Make sure to store everything in a sanitary area, away from dust and debris.

On the day you first received your contact lenses, your optometrist likely provided guidance very similar to the steps above. If you’ve been wearing contact lenses for several years, now is great time to slow down and re-evaluate your habits to ensure your routine is safe and healthy for your eyes. Here are some additional dos and don’ts to consider.

Contact Lens Dos and Don’ts

  • Never expose your contact lenses to water. Water introduces new bacteria to your eyes which can cling to your contact lenses, greatly increasing your risk of infection. This includes the shower!
  • Never reuse or “top off” your solution.
  • Always replace contact lenses as directed.
  • Replace your storage case at least every 3 months.
  • Never sleep in your contact lenses, even for short naps.
  • Always keep a backup pair of glasses nearby.
  • Attend routine eye appointments to ensure your vision remains in good health.

Following the steps above can greatly improve your chances of maintaining healthy vision and optimal contact lens performance.


Avoid Infections By Avoiding Water

Avoiding water exposure is one of the best ways to prevent eye complications from your contact lenses. Water introduces new micro-organisms and bacteria into your eye which can cause irritation, infection, and potentially sight-threatening complications. Although it can be a challenge to avoid getting water on your contacts during the summer, it’s not worth the risk. Experienced optometrist, Dr. Gail Kelley, weighs in on this topic.

“The most common question I get asked is whether patients can wear their contacts in the water. The answer is no. Unfortunately, there are organisms that live in the pool, the ocean, and even in your shower water that love contact lenses and can put you at risk for a serious eye infection.”Gail Kelley, O.D.

Dr. Kelley specializes in comprehensive eye care and helps patients optimize their vision with contact lenses. She often tells her patients how important it is not to wear contact lenses when submerging your eyes under water. Rather, you should switch to glasses for those activities or consider permanent solutions like LASIK.

To further avoid risk of infection, contact lens wearers should never use water to clean or lubricate their contact lenses. This may seem harmless and your only option when on a boat or at the beach. In these instances, Dr. Kelley advises using artificial tears instead to avoid the risk of water exposure and to keep your eyes clean and lubricated during long, active days. Plan ahead by picking up a bottle of artificial tears from any Wilmington Eye location (no appointment needed) and bringing them along on busy summer days.


Take A Break From Contact Lens Use

Contact lenses create a barrier around your cornea and prevent tears from reaching your eyes. When worn for too long, they can dry out your eyes and lead to discomfort and even headaches. To protect your eyes and minimize discomfort, it’s important to give your eyes a break every now and then. For long summer days with hours of activity planned, pack your glasses, solution, and storage case. You can make the switch to glasses after several hours of wear and keep your eyes feeling fresh while also protecting them in the long run. It may also help to have a pair of prescription sunglasses or Transitions® lenses during the remaining daylight hours.

Dr. Kelley also suggests daily disposable contact lens for those who tend to wear their contacts for too long.

“I’m passionate about fitting daily disposable contact lenses. I urge patients to consider them so they can be happier, healthier, and in their contact lenses longer.” – Gail Kelley, O.D.

You can ask about switching to daily contact lenses, either permanently or temporarily during the summer, at your next annual eye exam. Doing so may help maximize your vision and increase your comfort level throughout the day with contact lenses.


Yearly Eye Exams

To ensure you have the best vision possible, we recommend yearly eye exams with your optometrist. From adjusting your prescription to fitting you in the best contacts for your needs, your eye doctor can ensure you are seeing your best. It’s also important to seek out your eye doctor when you notice a change to your vision. The smallest change or discomfort may be signs of a serious issue.


We want you to look back on all your summer memories with fondness and clarity. Don’t let contact lens complications disrupt your summer plans. Click here to order contacts. If you’re ready to permanently optimize your vision, schedule a LASIK consultation with us to see if permanent vision correction is right for you.