Contact Lenses at Work – Are You in Danger?

There’s some controversy about the safety of wearing contact lenses at work, especially if you work in an industrial environment. For instance, if you are on a construction or renovation site and get dust or dirt particles trapped behind a contact lens, your cornea can be irritated or even damaged.

This scenario can obviously play out when you’re in your own home or walking a city block too, but we’re talking about the fact that it’s constant exposure to air-borne particles that poses the problem. Similarly, chemicals or vapors in the air can also cause irritation and if you instinctively rub your eyes, you again risk damage to the cornea.

On the other hand, it is possible that contact lenses might help to prevent injuries in the same way that glasses do, by protecting the eye from an airborne substance. Obviously, neither contact lenses nor glasses can replace proper protective devices. In fact, the argument seems moot if protective shields or safety glasses are worn as a matter of course.

An office situation certainly doesn’t usually have the caustic chemicals and noxious gases that some manufacturing or processing plants carry, but there are some conditions can make wearing contact lenses uncomfortable (at best) and damaging to your eyes (at worst).

For example, many offices tend to have extremely dry air, with lack of fresh air and natural humidity due to sealed windows. Also ventilation systems add to the problem, by further drying the air. Simple steps to rehydrate the air can be taken: add humidifiers to those areas in which you spend most of your time and ask that live plants be brought in throughout the entire space.

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