I have always struggled removing and replacing my contacts on the river, no matter what I do everything gets gritty and nasty, taking them out at night is especially challenging. Do you have any tips and tricks to make the process easier?
Before that I went the disposable route, but being cheap, I also reused as often as I could. My trick was to keep a pretty good sized clean piece of lint free cloth like Rayon and rinse, rinse, rinse right over the cloth after a really thorough hand scrubbing. Worked out OK. Sarongs work really good for this.
Thanks for the responses everyone. I disposables the the way to go for now. I'll hop on Lasik as soon as I can, for now my eyes are changing every year so my doc told me to wait for things to stabilize. It's amazing to me that surgery pays for itself in s few years vs. contacts and annual eye exams.
Fly By Night, if your eyes are well suited you could try extended-wear contacts that you can sleep in. I have worn these for longer than I can remember. I currently wear Bauch & Lomb PureVision that are rated for 30 days and they are great.
When I am home I take them out once a week to give my eyes a break and when camping or rafting I just don't worry about them. I did a 25-day Grand trip this past January and I put in a new pair before I left and took them out when I got home with no problems. As an old guy I appreciate that these come in a multi-focal version so that I can read my river map without having to pull out a pair of reading glasses.
I am a rafter, not a kayaker, so I don't have to worry about being underwater, or at least not very often!
As a paddler and an optometrist I have some definite opinions on this subject. First, the recommendation of daily disposables is an excellent one. There's no better way to wear contacts then to have a fresh lens everyday. Think about how often you get water splashed in your eyes while paddling. If you were going to drink that water you would filter it for giardia and all the other nasty bugs first.. think of your contacts like a sponge, the nasty bugs can live in them right next to your cornea and cause all manner of horrible problems that you would much rather avoid. This is why it's imperative that you either replace the lenses daily or put them through a disinfecting process. This is also why extended wear (overnight) is not advised for paddlers. What may be fine on dry land can be a real issue in the river environment. Same thing with reusing daily disposables, you're just eliminating all the advantages that the daily disposables offer. They're really not that expensive considering it's your eyes were talking about and you don't get a second chance if there's a serious problem. Many of my patients wear a daily disposable lens just while paddling and a reusable lens the rest of the time. That said, my personal opinion is that the disposable lenses are much more trouble free at all times.
Lasik surgery is also an excellent option but not everybody can either afford it or is a good candidate for Lasik. There are other refractive surgeries that may work better for you, see your eye care professional for advice specific to your personal situation.
And regardless of how you correct your vision an eye exam on a regular basis is highly recommended to detect medical eye issues that are without symptoms such as glaucoma.
Thanks for the post Doc, I didn't think about nasties from the water making it into my lenses. I got some disposables for my trip, starting with clean contact's was nice but I still seemed to find a way to get sand in things before they made it to my eyes. Hopefully my eyes stop changing soon so I can have some freaking laser beams shot into my freaking eyes to make this a non issue.
Many folks sleep in their extended wear contacts because "that is what they are approved for" so it must be safe, and never have any problems. But most folks aren't that lucky and it is just a matter of time. We see the folks with ulcers and vision loss in our chair, and it is just not worth it.
I tell my patients an analogy - you could brush your teeth only once a week, or once a month, and go a really long time with no problems. It will save time and money! But eventually it ain't so good and you regret it. Same with contacts.
Daily disposable contacts for the river and later Lasik if that is the route you want to go.
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