Touring - Contacts?
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07-28-08, 06:40 PM
How do you deal with contacts while touring? I prefer them over my glasses while biking for several reasons: 1. they don't slip down my nose, 2. I can wear sunglasses (which is a requisite because I have sensitive eyes), and 3. my vision is better with them.
But how do you keep them clean each night while heavy touring. It just seems that there are so many ways to start a bacterial infection in my eyes.
07-28-08, 07:32 PM
Sometimes while touring I found I couldn't get them clean enough, after getting road grit in your eyes all day. Also it's hard to get your hands clean if you've just pulled up in the middle of nowhere and set up your tent. One thing that helped was carrying antibacterial hand cleanser, and wet-wipes (also handy for cleaning dishes if no dish soap handy, they did the job).
I would recommend a shorter time period of contacts, like 1 week, or even daily. Daily's take up a bit more space, but you don't need to worry about dirty hands, cleaning them, soaking them, and best of all, you don't need to carry contact solution with you.
07-28-08, 11:26 PM
I have terrible vision, so terrible that my contacts would be too expensive if they were dailies. I replace mine every 3 months. Even then they cost as much as my eyeglasses (and I am not going to say how much those cost).
07-29-08, 05:54 AM
I wear glasses on tour. I use prescription inserts in my riding glasses. I wish that I had opted for bifocals rather than just my distance prescription, because I had to switch to my regular glasses to read the map. On the TA my companions got tired of having to do most of the map reading.
They both used what I think were weekly contacts. They complained that they had little tears in the edges of their lenses pretty quickly on tour, a result of the dryness and road grit maybe. I doubt that monthly would have worked for them since the weekly ones had premature rips.
Daily wear lenses would have meant a lot of lenses on a long tour. 73 pairs would be a lot of extra bulk and my daughter didn't consider that a valid option. That said I think if I were to use contacts on a long tour I might go daily wear and have a new batch mailed to me via general delivery at a few places along the way. I can't claim to have tried them on tour, but have used them on backpacking and kayaking trips and they worked out OK.
07-29-08, 06:53 AM
I talked to my eye doctor a couple months before my last long tour, and we decided to give the 30-day "Night and Day" contacts a try. I LOVE them for touring. He recommended I take them out at least once a week to let my eyes rest overnight rather than leaving them in for the full 30 days. I was usually able to get clean, indoor accommodations once a week, so that helped with taking them out and making sure they were clean when I reinserted them. My eyes aren't particularly dry, so I just have to blink a few times in the morning or roll my eyes around a bit and they're good to go for the rest of the day. I carry wetting drops for those times when my eyes are drier, but I rarely use them.
Do try them out at home before you take them on tour. My doctor had me come in after my first week with them in to make sure everything was fine. I got my first boxes from the eye doctor (see if you can get a free trial pair if you aren't sure they'll work) but was able to find them more cheaply online after that.
07-29-08, 07:06 AM
Out of curiosity...
Those of you who are using longer use (30 day) and or night and day lenses, have you toured in windy, dry, dusty places (deserts, the great plains etc). If so how did they work out? I wonder because my eyes were dry and irritated enough without contacts in those places.
07-29-08, 11:13 AM
I didn't have any problem, but this will obviously vary from person to person. I found using broad wrap-around sunglasses (I use Tifosi) was the best way to avoid grit in the eyes. But like I said, my eyes don't generally dry out a lot anyway, and when the did, the rewetting drops took care of any problems.
07-29-08, 01:11 PM
I use contacts that are to be worn for 2-4 weeks. I take them out every night. I have done a lot of camping, backpacking, rafting trips up to a week at a time with no problems with the contacts. My eyes aren't too sensative. My SO also wears contacts and he is a bit more sensative, but does ok out there too.
We are leaving tomorrow for a 2 week bike tour. We each have two spare sets of contacts with us.
When I need to handle the contacts I wipe my hands with a wet wipe and rinse with a bit of water.
I live in a desert-y area but the wind and dust doesn't bother my contacts much.
Most individuals will get along well by simply replacing their contact lenses at more frequent intervals. Replacing lenses daily is over kill for most, but weekly or bi-weekly serves the general population well during harsh conditions and many will tolerate even up to one month wear. The use of artificial tears and rewetting drops are adequate in combatting dry eye for most especially in the younger population. Even removing your contact lenses mid day and letting them soak in a disinfecting/soaking solution for a few minutes before reinsertion will often allow for several more hours of comfortable wear. Also certain lenses (low water content and some of the newer silicone hydrogel materials) dont dry out as easily as others and hopefully your eye doctor will be able to find one that works for you. Please don't sleep over night in your contact lenses for the first time while on the road or for that matter unless you have a prior record of successful extended wear. Extended wear always presents a higher risk to the eye in that you are more likely to incur infections and the infection/inflamation tends to be greater with extended wear vs. daily wear. The majority of ocular infections that I treat day in and day out are due to extended CL wear and/or those individuals that don't replace their lenses frequently enough.
07-29-08, 11:55 PM
Robow, I hate to be asking for professional advice on a forum (please no offense but you know how in the telephone game information is quickly distorted but treated as truth) but you sound like an optometrist. I never sleep in my contact lenses (save the few naps), but you think it would be safe to ride in contacts considering what others have said? I ride for 3.5 hour rides without trouble. Could your rinsing midday idea work with hard contacts? I would like to go back to gas perms because they are cheaper and actually hold the form of my eyes, but i disliked their effect drying effect at the end of the day. this was 6 years ago, though.
07-30-08, 12:30 AM
The Night and Day lenses seem like the best bet for multi-day outdoor activities in general. For a week-long canoe trip, I'd take my glasses rather than stick my fingers, wetted with iodine-treated lake water, in my eyes. Even if you have better facilities and can take out your lenses nightly, the Night and Days allow in much more oxygen to the eyes than any other lens, from what my optometrist tells me. This seems like a good thing on tour. It also means you can catch a siesta without having to worry about your contacts sticking to your eyes.
though the Ciba Night and Day lenses are FDA approved for 30 days of continuous wear, that doesn't mean every individual can wear the lens in that manner. In fact many and I mean a lot, of people can not tolerate the lenses over night for even one day. Oxygen transmission is only part of the equation and has nothing to do with it "sticking to your eye". There are a host of other factors that come into play. But if it works, it's great and yet I still recommend removing the CL's at least once a week for cleaning and over night disinfection.
of course it's safe to ride in contact lenses, at least for most individuals the risk is very low. As to the rinsing of rigid gas permeable lenses mid day to increase comfort yes and no. RGP lenses are really not composed of water like soft disposable lenses and so they do not dehydrate as the day goes on. What you can do at mid day wear is to remove the lenses and let them soak in a soaking/rewetting solution for several minutes which doesn't rehydrate the lens but it does recondition the surface of the lens and therefore the wetting angle is decreased (it wets better) and therefore is more comfortable. Please realize that out of the roughly 30 million contact lens wearers in the US alone, only about 5% anymore wear a rigid lens, the rest wear some form of soft or disposable lens. RGP's do have some nice advantages but they do require a significantly higher quality and/or quantity tear layer for comfortable wear. Hope some of this information is useful.
07-30-08, 09:08 PM
Several field seasons in Egypt with contacts. Glasses were trashed so fast! I just used whatever available to clean my hands and saline without trouble - never a problem. At that time, contacts were primitive and I used various solutions as required. I rarely wore sunglasses and developed that nice desert squint. Keeps dust out pretty well. I did burn through contacts a bit faster.
Now I wear disposables and have no trouble at all. I haven't done a tour with them, but I've done backpacking. Just carry a mirror and solutions. No trouble. So long as I have hand cleaning stuff.
I ride a fair amount without glasses. I can see well. I've run a few bugs through an eye and never had a contact bother me. Perhaps I'm an exception, but at least for me they work great.
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