10 Tips for Safe Wear of Contact Lenses in the Workplace

Putting in eye drops

Putting in artificial tears right before putting in contacts feels good and is a great way to ward off dry eye problems.

As detailed in the previously published article “10 Considerations for Contact Wearers in an Industrial Environment,” wearing contacts is acceptable in most industrial environments and even advantageous in some. This article discusses various care tips that contact wearers must adhere to in order to ensure that wearing contacts will not cause a safety hazard. The following 10 tips will not only help prevent such situations, they will also make overall contact wear safer and more comfortable.

  1. Take proper care of contacts. No matter how small, a dust, dirt or other particle under the contact lens can scratch the cornea and possibly cause serious injury or infection. Diminished vision, discomfort and inability to wear contacts for an extended period of time can all happen as a result.
  2. Avoid rubbing the eye when a particle is in it. Try to let tears naturally flush out the particle or irrigate the eye with artificial tears.
  3. Follow the advice of your eye care specialist. Proper wear and care for contacts on a daily basis is crucial in eye health as well as in contact effectiveness and comfort.
  4. Have a backup plan. Keep a pair of eyeglasses or extra pair of contacts handy should the contacts being worn become lost or damaged. This will ensure proper vision at all times.
  5. Wear personal protective equipment (PPE) whenever required. This is good advice not just for contact wearers but for everyone. Safety glasses and goggles not only protects eyes in general, it can also help ensure contacts do not cause safety hazards.
  6. Remove contacts if exposed to chemicals. Begin flushing the eye immediately in hopes that the contact will wash out and seek medical attention right away. Note that flushing eyes after chemical exposure is a step needing taken whether an individual is wearing contacts or not.
  7. Keep artificial tears on hand. Contacts can often become dry. For this reason, quality artificial tears can be helpful to use regularly. Keep in mind that some artificial tears should only be added to the eye when the contact is not in it while others can be added directly to the contact in the eye. Read package label carefully. BONUS TIP: Make a habit of putting in artificial tears right before putting in contacts. Not only does this feel good on the eye, doing so is a great way to ward off dry eye problems.
  8. Let people know you wear contacts. Make sure your supervisor and the individuals with whom you work now you wear contacts. This will help to ensure proper safety procedures should an accident take place.
  9. Replace contacts as needed. A common mistake many contact wearers make is wearing contacts for longer than prescribed (not taking them out at night for example) and failing to dispose of contacts when needed (such as wearing daily wear contacts for a couple of weeks). Doing either of these increases the possibility of contacts become a vision hazard.
  10. Know situations that put contact wearers at increased risk. Environments where chemical splash is a higher risk may not be appropriate for wearing contacts. In addition, environments that are hot and dry may also cause problems for those wearing contacts. Be aware of the environment in which you work and deliberately assess the condition of your contacts in those situations to decide if another option is necessary.

Contacts are an option that chosen by more than 34 million Americans. Fortunately, they are not a problem in normal circumstances for those individuals working in an industrial environment providing contacts are worn and cared for properly.