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Your festival checklist: how to take care of your eyes at a festival

If you’re planning to brave the British summer at a festival this year, I’m sure you already have a long list of things to take with you: fancy dress, face paint and a few beers will no doubt feature! However, while festivals are a great opportunity to blow off some steam with a fun group of friends, it’s important that you don’t get carried away and forget the basics. 

Catching an eye infection at a festival could mean that you miss out on seeing some of your favourite bands. Here’s a handy checklist for contact lens wearers, and a few simple tips on how to make sure you look after your eyes while at a festival.

Your checklist:

  • Lots of spare contact lenses
  • At least one lens case (preferably two)
  • Disinfecting solution
  • Antibacterial hand gel
  • A hand mirror
  • Rehydrating eye drops
  • UV protecting sunglasses
  • Antihistamines (either tablets, or Opticrom eye drops)

Hygiene, hygiene, hygiene

Hygiene is absolutely key to maintaining good eye health at a festival. If you use two weekly, monthly or extended wear contact lenses, it’s worth speaking to your Optician about switching to daily lenses. Wearing daily lenses means you can throw them away at the end of the day, and replace them with a fresh pair in the morning. 

This eliminates any need to store them in solution overnight (which might be a bit of a challenge after you’ve had a few drinks in your tent!). Take lots of spare lenses with you, just in case you lose any, or find they are damaged.

Before inserting your contact lenses each morning, ensure that your hands are clean by using an anti-bacterial hand gel. It can be difficult to find a sterile environment at a festival; our in-house Optician, Kayleigh, recommends staying inside your tent rather than going to the festival toilets to insert your lenses. So add a small hand mirror to your list!

You should also take at least one lens case with you, in case you need to clean your lenses. Festival sites can be dusty, so if any debris gets caught on one of your lenses, make sure you take it out straight away and clean it with disinfecting solution.

Keep your eyes hydrated

Festival life often leaves your body dehydrated. Lots of sunshine (hopefully!), lots of alcohol and not much water can have a big impact on your eyes, causing them to feel dry, itchy or irritated.

As a general rule, you should also always try to stick to drinking 8 glasses of water a day while at a festival. Kayleigh, also recommends that you take a bottle of eye drops with you to soothe any discomfort. Eye drops add moisture to the surface of your eye, mimicking natural tears and soothing irritated eyes. Check the packaging to see whether you need to remove your contact lenses before using eye drops.

Protect yourself from the sun

As we all know, the sun doesn’t always shine on British festival-goers! However, if you’re fortunate enough to see the sun while you’re at a festival this summer, you should make sure you’re well prepared.

Many contact lenses provide UV protection. However, if you read this information on your contact lens box, don’t fall in the trap of thinking that you don’t need to wear sunglasses! The area that a UV contact lens shields is limited to the front surface of the eye, such as the cornea. 

While this protection is vital to maintain good eye health, your sclera (the white part of your eye) and the skin around your eye remain exposed to the sun’s harmful rays. So remember to pack your sunnies, but don’t worry if you forget: there are always plenty of stalls where you can buy a pair once you’re at the festival.

Prepare for allergies

The pollen count generally increases as the temperature creeps up. To make sure this doesn’t affect your festival experience, check the expected pollen count online before you leave, and be take some antihistamines with you. If your eyes are particularly affected by hay fever or allergies, Kayleigh suggests trying Opticrom eye drops, which can relieve any feeling of itchiness within 2 minutes. You should remove your lenses before using Opticrom eye drops, storing them in solution in your lens case. You can put them back in after about 15 minutes.

These tips should offer you guidance on how to look after your eyes while at a festival. However, if you have any other questions, we recommend that you consult your Optician as they will be able to give you advice that is perfectly tailored to your needs.

Make sure you take everything that’s on our checklist with you, and most importantly, have fun!