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Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

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Old 04-26-09, 05:09 PM   #1
JeffC
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Hard contact lenses plus pollen dust = biking agony

I've been wearing hard contact lenses for 20 years now and bike commuting in the DC area for a little over two years. This is the time of the year when you can see a layer of green pollen on cars. I think it will last a few more days and then get washed away by the next rain.

I've never had a problem with this pollen dust in my eyes before until now. On Friday during my ride home I had to pull over several times to let my tears flush out the dust. On Saturday I took a short ride of about 3 miles and again had the same problem, I could barely see and was blinking rapidly trying to flush my eyes, had to pull over for fear I would run into something. It's not a problem just walking around or doing yard work, it's only when riding.

I think for the next few days I'm going to have to wear my glasses while riding. Anyone else have this same problem, any tips other than wearing glasses while riding?
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Old 04-26-09, 05:24 PM   #2
Jonahhobbes
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Ahh yes the joyous agony of getting something behind the lens, I have had it in the past, I switched to disposable lenses, which even with my astigamatism (sp? to lazy to check), you can get nowadays.

I have stuff getting onto/behind the lens maybe half a dozen times a year, if that now, but it nowhere near compares to the torment of a hard lens. I would worry about how incapacitating a hard lens can be in those situations, with tears streaming down your face blinding you.

The only other issue I still have that can be a little troubling is moving from a warm environment to a cold one rapidly, makes the lens less "stickable" to the eye and I've lost a couple.

Make the switch.

Last edited by Jonahhobbes; 04-26-09 at 05:32 PM.
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Old 04-26-09, 05:44 PM   #3
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I don't have problems with pollen but my eyes are crazy sensitive to cold air and dust and they water like crazy so I wear safety glasses that I purchased from Home Depot and they work very very well. They're also cheap and they look great. I've had stuff blow in my eyes on long rides and just don't risk riding without glasses any more.
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Old 04-26-09, 06:05 PM   #4
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Maybe you could buy some sports sunglasses that fit fairly close the face?
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Old 04-26-09, 06:10 PM   #5
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I don't have problems with pollen but my eyes are crazy sensitive to cold air and dust and they water like crazy so I wear safety glasses that I purchased from Home Depot and they work very very well. They're also cheap and they look great. I've had stuff blow in my eyes on long rides and just don't risk riding without glasses any more.
Yeah forgot to mention this too. Wear safety glasses, I keep an eye out for cheap interchangable lens cycling sunglasses, but most safety glasses will do, cuts down the ol' "gah! Who shot me in the eye with an arrow"? feeling also keeps that yukky, urine-smelling dust the cattle trucks waft into your eyes.
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Old 04-26-09, 06:13 PM   #6
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Maybe you could buy some sports sunglasses that fit fairly close the face?
Yeah the thing is sometimes stuff gets through whatever you wear. I found Hard/GP lenses just too agonizing. Disposable lenses are flexible enough to give a gentle rub which usually removes the grit, dirt, pollen.
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Old 04-26-09, 06:32 PM   #7
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Can't think of any other advice to pass along except the obvious... Wear some close-fitting glasses to minimize the pollen dust issue.

At the risk of sounding like your mom, I'd advise you to always wear some form of eye-protection when riding - whether it's allergy season or not. One of my riding buddies is an eye doctor - and you should see the care he takes in keeping his eyes safe from debris, bugs, and whatever else might come their way... Sorry for the pun, but in his job, he's seen it all. Really made me think.
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Old 04-26-09, 06:39 PM   #8
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You could wear swim goggles!

Don't worry, bystanders already think you are a dork because you commute on a bike. Swim goggles won't make a difference.
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Old 04-26-09, 06:51 PM   #9
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Welcome to my life. Two weeks out of the year I can not wear contacts. However, I am leaving town midway through week two. It is my hope that I can confuse my allergies by heading to vegas.
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Old 04-26-09, 07:46 PM   #10
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I should have specified that I have of course been wearing sunglasses. I have some good biking sunglasses that wrap around fairly well and really keep stuff out. I think I just need to take out my contacts while biking to work for the next few days.
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Old 04-26-09, 08:06 PM   #11
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My reaction to pollen is such that I develop allergen caused pink eye (non contagious). I will wake up with bright red eyes crusted with lovely gunk. I now take a perscription optivaire to keep the puffy, red, oozing, and itching down to a managable level.
For your situation you may find that the over the counter visine for allergies will help. It does basically nothing for me but my reaction to tree pollen is terrible.
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Old 04-26-09, 08:28 PM   #12
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I have soft lenses and we're right in the 2 weeks of the year when the pollen bugs the hell outta me (also in the DC area.)
My Friday ride home was about the worst it's been this year as well.

The only cure is antihistamines and lots of flushing w/ saline.
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Old 04-26-09, 09:28 PM   #13
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In addition to the suggestion by others to wear glasses (I wear Oakley Radar Range because they have the huge coverage and still look pretty cool), I would also suggest Zatidor (I think that is the spelling) eye drops. I actually use a generic equivalent from Walgreen's that is just as good and a lot cheaper, but it makes a huge difference on your eyes in just how they react to allergens. You may be having problems from 'crud in the eye' but you may also just be having allergic reactions.

Food for thought anyway.
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Old 04-26-09, 11:54 PM   #14
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Pollen

The pollen has came out here in Portland as well. I don't wear contact lenses, but my eyes have suffered from the tedious pollen. I road a 10 mile ride w/out glasses and the following day, my eyes were bloodshot and felt as if something was stuck behind my eye/eyelid. It was such a horrible feeling that lasted for about 2 days...

After that, I'm definitely wearing glasses on all my rides..
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Old 04-27-09, 12:26 AM   #15
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Ahhhhhh I see now.

The OP and the rest of you have allergy problems not just crap getting in your eyes.

Did your tribes not leave you to die in the wilderness when they discovered your weaknesses during infancy?


Seriously though since coming to the allergy capital of the world - New Zealand, I've started experencing mild hayfever - tis pretty crappy
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Old 04-14-10, 11:05 AM   #16
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This is the time of the year when you can see a layer of green pollen on cars. I think it will last a few more days and then get washed away by the next rain.
I got sick of washing my car so I got a car cover, much easier now. I like my cover from empire covers, its light weight and the pollen blows off the cover.

http://empirecovers-review.blogspot.com
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Old 04-14-10, 11:15 AM   #17
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Wiley-X has some glasses-ish goggles which are great for riding. I think there are even a couple models with interchangeable lenses.

I like my Native Nano^2 specs. Wide profile, good wraparound of the lens, and not much windflow behind the lenses.
I also wear 2-week disposable contacts, and put a couple drops of Pataday in before heading out into the pollen storms. For really long rides, I'll bring it with me and use more as needed.
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Old 04-14-10, 11:30 AM   #18
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I wore contacts for 20+ years. Five years ago I got Lasik surgery. Problem solved.
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