What would you do?

I’ve been reading up on the American Optometric Association (AOA) Contact Lens and Cornea Section about tips for contact lenses. Of course, the answers all stem from peer-reviewed literature and science and other supportive facts, but it got me wondering – what do optometrists actually do in these situations? I will present some real-life scenarios over the course of the next few months to gauge some conversations about what you would do!

Contact lens dried out outside the lens case…

Of course, we would recommend throwing it away and starting over with a new contact lens. But what if that was your last contact lens and you were in a foreign country? Yes, this happened to me on my most recent trip outside the United States. Worst optometrist award for not bringing a spare pair. In my defense, I did actually have a few spare pairs in my toiletry bag, but they were all for the OD and I needed the OS. Why does my OS lens always have all the problems? I have no clue.

So, what did I do? Begrudgingly, I put the dried up lens into the contact lens case to rehydrate it. I made sure to rub it extremely well after it ran through its disinfection cycle, and then soaked it for a couple more hours, but I still cringed as I was putting it into my eye. If I got a corneal ulcer from this, I was surely never to live it down. I was thinking about what optometrist to call in that country if I ended up getting some sort of microbial keratitis. Not a good feeling. I still think about it with disgust.

Conclusion – don’t rehydrate lenses if they get dried out. Open a new one. If you don’t have a new one, glasses are probably more appropriate than risking an eye infection. Unless you are officiating a wedding in a few hours (which was the case for me). In that case, you have to weigh out your risks to benefits and I had to make that awful decision. I would love to know what you would do in this situation and of course, you can harass me for my terrible decision-making.