Living at higher altitudes or where it receives the most snow, wearing colored contact lenses can invite many fears. From seasonal dry eye syndrome to frozen colored contact lenses you must be prepared for all unwanted winter-related drama. Although it is very rare of contact lenses to freeze, they remain pretty salvageable if defrosted at a room temperature.
Can Colored Contact Lenses Freeze?
Yes and No. Colored contact lenses cannot freeze in your eyes no matter how low the temperature drops. The tears your eyes release and your cornea are enough to provide the warmth your lenses require to function properly. However, you may notice grittiness and irritability as you go further into winter months. Human eyes are 35C whereas contact lenses stay fine in temperature below -10c.
However, it is very likely to find them freezing if contact lens packages are delivered at your front door during heavy snow or if they keep lying in colder weather outside for several days. Colored contact lenses are stored in saline solution which is a solution of water and salt. The heavier the salt content, the lower is the freezing point. Yes, you got it right. That is why salt is poured on the roads as it help ice melts faster. Salt prevents water molecules to turn into ice. Saline solution in which contact lenses are stored before the seal is broken has a freezing point of -10c. Therefore be very careful when traveling with colored contact lenses in sub-zero temperature.
My Colored Contact Lenses Froze in Transit. What should I do now?
Do not fret. Instead of struggling to defrost them by putting the package in a heated setting, try bringing them on room temperature. Once the solution melts and contact lenses get back to floating, the lenses are good to be used again. Frozen solution does not deteriorate contacts. When travelling make sure you keep your colored contact lenses close to your body when not wearing them such as in your sleeping bag.
Colored contact lenses should work just as fine in winter as they do in summer. However, cold winter breeze outside and dry indoor air due to central heating may aggravate dryness. Using rewetting drops and keeping yourself hydrated shall do the trick. Invest in a humidifier to add moisture to the air. Also, get yourself silicone hydrogel lenses during winter months. They are made from the most comfortable material that stays moist in your eyes due to containing as much moisture as hyaluronic acid does.