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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?

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

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