IF you wear contact lenses! – When you feel a cold or the flu coming on, take out your contact lenses or reduce your lens-wear time, or your EYES may catch a cold too!

If you have extended-wear lenses, opt for daily contact lenses when you start feeling cold and flu-like symptoms, and still remove them earlier in the evening to minimize redness and irritation. Optometrist William Benjamin says, “Colds and flu create symptoms of dry eyes or irritation with or without lens wear, and contacts may aggravate the symptoms, especially soft lenses which will lose more of their water than normal and may not rehydrate fast enough.”

Why are contacts impacted by colds and flu? These infections can temporarily change outer-eye fluids, often making the tear film thinner and the eye?s surface drier. Antihistamines often taken for colds and flu further dehydrate eyes and lead to scratchiness or lens irritation. And the dry heat of most homes and buildings in the winter, another contributor to dry eyes, further reinforce his advice that less contact wear is best during periods of sickness. The eye’s cornea may catch a viral infection, too, if conditions are right and lens wearers act carelessly.

Art credit: freeimages.co.uk

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