[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Contact lenses are worn by many individuals in military and civilian populations. Anecdotal reports have described contact lenses "sticking" and "freezing" to the eye during extreme cold conditions. However, some articles indicate the advantages of wearing contact lenses in cold environments. Military operations frequently taken place in cold regions; therefore, we need to known whether contact lenses can be worn safely in extreme cold. Rabbits were fitted with hard (polymethyl methacrylate) contact lenses and exposed to -28.9 degrees C temperatures with winds up to 78 mph (125 km/hr) for 3-hr periods. The wind-chill factor in these conditions exceeded -67.8 degrees C. No effects of the cold or contact lenses were seen in 85% of the eyes. A few of the eyes, both with contact lenses and without, showed mild superficial fluorescein staining of the cornea which cleared within a few ours after exposure. Histologic examination of the corneas revealed no abnormalities attributable to the cold. Inasmuch as this study showed that rabbits wearing contact lenses in extreme cold suffered no acute deleterious effects to the eyes, the research can be expanded to include human subjects.
American journal of optometry and physiological optics 05/1982; 59(4):297-300. DOI:10.1097/00006324-198204000-00002
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Military personnel are stationed in a wide range of geographical locations, some with adverse climates. Little is known about the effects of extreme cold on the cornea and on the ability to wear contact lenses. A survey was taken of contact lens wearers who commonly wear their lenses while engaged in outdoor activities. Although no serious problems were reported, redness of the eyes was the most common complaint of hard lens wearers; soft lens wearers most frequently complained about decreased vision. Contact lenses were generally comfortable in the cold, but lens care is difficult. Since they do not fog and they offer protection from wind-driven ice and snow, contact lenses offer an important advantage over spectacles. (Author)