Can contact lenses and solution freeze?
Winter and sub-zero temperatures are not an obstacle to wearing contact lenses. With a few tips, you will be able to enjoy wearing them in the cold season as well.
You probably want to know if contact lenses can freeze in extremely cold temperatures…
They can’t. Common hydrogel contact lenses (38% of
hydration) won’t freeze in your eyes. Snow and frost won’t damage the lenses
and they will not lose their qualities. The temperature of the cornea and tears is about 35°C, which means
the lens is warm enough even when it’s –10°C outside.
If you put lenses dipped in a solution in a freezer, the solution will freeze
at about –15°C. However, the frozen solution protects the lens from damage,
therefore contacts will show no change in quality after defrosting.
Without a solution, lenses can freeze, but they will probably dry out first.
We would definitely recommend you avoid such experiments and if you decide to wear a defrosted lens, you should have it checked by a specialist, with a magnifying device.
What about solutions?
A solution freezes at around –10°C. Be careful if your solution freezes while you are on holiday or while travelling. Frost can spoil its contents and lower its disinfecting qualities.
How to prevent freezing?
We recommend keeping solutions at room temperature, as is usually indicated
on the information leaflets or packaging. Extreme cold can alter or impair the
solution and thus lower its effects, which could lead to insufficient cleaning
of your contacts.
However, temperatures around –10°C can only damage the solution after
several hours. So if you travel with lenses and solution, but don’t expose
them to long and cold journeys every day, you don’t have to worry.
You should also keep lens storage in mind.
Lenses in a solution shouldn’t be exposed to extreme temperatures. Pay attention when travelling, particulary in the mountains.
Wearing contact lenses could be inconvenient when there are strong winds in freezing temperatures, or with frequently changing temperatures, like when you walk in and out of overheated shops and the ouside temperature is well below zero. In such cases, lenses might be uncomfortable and your eyes could feel dry.
Moisturising eye drops will help you with this and will make contact lens wearing more pleasant. Some of them are:
In winter, even when it’s not sunny, make sure to wear sunglasses that will protect your eyes from strong
wind and snow glare. Then, when the sun comes out, you will do your eyes a
double favour, because UV radiation is as intensive in winter as it is in
summer, especially in the mountains.
There are several ways to enjoy winter in contact lenses. If you are not sure or need advice, seek your optician or ask Lentiamo.co.uk.
I accidentally left my prescription contacts in the case in the trunk of my car pack in a garbage bag with clothes for about a week. It was during the winter and really cold I did look for them but thought I lost them. When I brought everything in I found them in the bag with the clothes but I have been afraid to try to wear them because I don't know if them being in the trunk for that week during the cold weather would have damaged them so I have either not wore anything or wore reading glasses non prescription when I have to. My question is would my contacts be ok and not damaged so still be good to wear because for whatever reason two different eye doctors both say they don't want me to wear glasses but do want me in contacts. I'm sorry my question is so long but can someone please give me an answer. I have been trying to find this out since the beginning of January and my eye doctor is only there on Tuesday and Thursday from 10-7est. So I have trouble getting ahold of him for an answer as well as I can't afford to pay for another pair. Can someone please help me and tell me if they are still good and safe to wear.please and thank you in advance Robyn McIntyre
Assuming that the temperature for that week did not go well below –10 or –15, like it says in the article, there shouldn't be any problem.
It is also important to know which brand and type of lenses you are wearing, as the water content might make a lot of difference in the way they respond to cold temperatures.
It is true that you should seek a doctor's advice, therefore you could try, but don't be surprised if they don't feel comfortable.
Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
Best regards, Fabrizio