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Contact lens-wearing alpinists

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 alexm198 24 Aug 2022

Wondering what other people's experiences with contact lenses and alpinism are.

I've tried a variety of tactics on multi-day things. Originally carried a case and a tiny bottle of solution to allow me to take them out at bivis, but the horror of having to jam them back into your eyes the next morning was too much. Most recently I've just been leaving them in and dealing with horribly gritty eyes. 

Any genius tips? Or just solidarity from other contact lens wearers? Do I just need to save up and get laser surgery?

 Ffati1 24 Aug 2022
In reply to alexm198:

I just use the really soft air permable that you can sleep in. 

 AndyRoss 24 Aug 2022
In reply to alexm198:

I've previously had success with some that are designed for sleeping in, e.g. the Acuvue Oasys (6 nights). They were great, because you also avoid the need to try and have clean hands, etc, but these days just use daily disposables.

 crayefish 24 Aug 2022
In reply to alexm198:

Dude.... dailies!!!!  Why would you bring a bottle and reuse etc?  Daily disposables are easy and you just pop new ones in each day.  You can chuck the old ones (and packaging) in your empty freeze dried food pouch after dinner, along with the rest of your rubbish.  It's worked for me for many years of multi day trips and expeditions.

By the way, I've tested them down to -40 C and they suffer no harm from freezing.  Just defrost in your jacket/bag/hand and in they go.  I checked this using my home freezer first.  🤣

If you're worried about dirty fingers, just bring a tiny bottle of alcohol hand gel to clean tips first.  It's what I do and never had an issue.

 mountainbagger 24 Aug 2022
In reply to AndyRoss:

> I've previously had success with some that are designed for sleeping in, e.g. the Acuvue Oasys (6 nights). They were great, because you also avoid the need to try and have clean hands, etc, but these days just use daily disposables.

+1 for the 6 nighters. I also used the same ones as you, but this was 15 years ago so not sure what the equivalent now is. I was in Nepal for about 3 weeks, and these meant I only changed them a couple of times whilst actually trekking/climbing. It was so great to wake up and be able to see immediately!

 Hooo 24 Aug 2022
In reply to alexm198:

+1 for extended wear lenses. I used Bausch & Lomb ones that you can wear for up to two weeks as my regular lenses, because they were more comfortable and better vision than any of the daily disposables I tried. Never did more than 3 days with them myself, but they were perfect for that.

I've since found a daily that works really well, so I save the expensive B&Ls for when I really don't want to be fiddling with lenses.

 Mark Haward 25 Aug 2022
In reply to alexm198:

Daily disposables have never let me down

 veteye 25 Aug 2022
In reply to alexm198:

I would prefer to keep to hard contact lenses, as I know what they behave like, and I am happy with the multifocal lenses which I have.

So I have usually fiddled.. I always take a handkerchief, to make it easier to find lenses when shot out of the eye at speed, etc, and it can be used for getting rid of tears, epiphora etc. 

I always clean my lenses at night time, so I don't have the problem in the morning. For this I take a small plastic beaker, in which to put water, to swill the lens after cleaning solution. I do this after making a big effort to make sure that my hands have been carefully washed w a small bit of soap, and min water. Yes it's a big effort. 

It was a more troublesome thing on Denali with Reynaud's phenomenon fingers, and having to keep my contact lens bag between my legs in the sleeping bag to prevent freezing of solutions.

So possibly not the answer which you seek.

In reply to Mark Haward:

> Daily disposables have never let me down

The fact that I'd slept in my daily disposables was the least of my problems when we ended up bivvying on the Badlile!

OP alexm198 25 Aug 2022
In reply to AndyRoss:

Acuvue Oasys are what I'm using currently, but still find that after three days of wear or so my eyes are bloodshot and horrible-feeling! Maybe I'm doing something wrong. Do you take any eyedrops or anything?

Post edited at 09:58
OP alexm198 25 Aug 2022
In reply to crayefish:

Duh, totally forgot about this as an option! I always wear reusables (monthly / fortnightly) since I wear them every day in normal life. But I had been meaning to get some dailies to experiment with for climbing. Thanks for the reminder!

In reply to alexm198:

I recently started wearing monthlies, I find eye rewetting drops are essential for dry sticky lenses.

 crayefish 25 Aug 2022
In reply to alexm198:

The other advantage of dailies over the monthly-leave-in type is that if one breaks/drops out or you need to remove and drop it, then you aren't buggered for the rest of the trip.  Just pop in another one.

Normally I'll take 10-20% extra to allow for backup.  So for 14 days I'd take 16-17 pairs or so.  They're tiny so not much extra space.

Only challenge for me was learning to put them in without a mirror (which I had got used to using) but with a little practice that was solved.

In reply to alexm198:

I use prescription sun glasses instead, no poking myself in the eye with filthy fingers.

The julbo prescription cat 4 ones are great.

In reply to alexm198:

Another vote for daily lenses. So much cleaner and more convenient. Get the best ones you can afford as the quality of the cheaper ones can be poor. 

 mountainbagger 26 Aug 2022
In reply to alexm198:

> Acuvue Oasys are what I'm using currently, but still find that after three days of wear or so my eyes are bloodshot and horrible-feeling! Maybe I'm doing something wrong. Do you take any eyedrops or anything?

I was told my eyes were on the dry side (whatever that means) but had no issues wearing the 6-nighters and never needed eye drops. However, if you've tried them and they are bothering you within 3 days, you may as well go with dailies as others have suggested.

I was most worried about the increased risk of infection from a daily eye-poking but that's probably just in my head. If you're careful it should be fine.

One cautionary tale (!): when taking my lenses out one evening in Nepal just outside my tent, I popped my glasses down ready to go on my head. They were on the ground all of a few seconds but unbeknownst to me had acquired a leech on the nose piece which promptly attached itself to my nose right next to my eye! Not really a problem other than it didn't stop bleeding easily due to the leech's natural anticoagulant, which made eating dinner somewhat cannibalistic.


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