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Woman dancing at music festival

Taking your contact lenses to a festival

Photo by David Calderón on Unsplash

If you’re planning to brave your summer at Glastonbury this year, a hat, face paint and a few beers will no doubt feature! 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 – such as your contact lenses – when you’re packing for these events.

Forgetting your contact lenses or catching an eye infection at a festival could mean that you miss out on seeing some of your favourite acts. Here’s a few simple tips on eye and contact lens care, plus a handy checklist when you’ll be battling through the muddy fields.

Hygiene: Keep it clean  

Hygiene is absolutely key to maintaining good eye health at a festival. Do you usually wear two weekly, monthly or extended wear contacts? Then it might be worth speaking to your optician about switching to daily lenses. You can throw dailies away at the end of the day, and replace them with a fresh pair in the morning. That saves you disinfecting and storing your lenses overnight, which could prove rather challenging after a few beers. Additional tip: bring lots of spare lenses in case you lose them in the mud.

Before applying 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 – the portable toilets are probably not on top of the most sterile spots at a festival, so you might as well stay inside your tent rather than visiting the toilets to insert your lenses. We recommend adding a small hand mirror to your list!

Person using soap to wash hands

Photo by Gadini on Pixabay

If you don’t opt for daily disposables, you should also take at least one lens case with you, in case you need to clean your lenses. Festival sites can be dusty and 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

You can easily get dehydrated when cheering for your favourite artists. The blazing sun (we can only hope), lots of alcohol and little water can affect your eyes, causing them to feel dry, itchy or irritated.

Pack your water bottle and try to stick to drinking about 2 litres a day. Consider taking 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.)

Glass of water

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Protect yourself from the sun

As we are all aware of, a sunny day is a rare occasion here in Britain. However, if you’re fortunate enough to see the sun when you’re heading down to a festival, make sure you’re well prepared.

Our skin needs protection and so do our eyes. 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. 

Sunset

Photo by Anthony Tuil on Unsplash

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 on the festival campground. Plus, a fancy pair of sunglasses are essential to your festival look.  

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 take some antihistamines with you. If your eyes are particularly affected by hay fever or allergies, you could try 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.

Your checklist

  • Spare contact lenses
  • One (preferably two) lens case
  • Disinfecting solution
  • Antibacterial hand gel
  • A hand mirror
  • Rehydrating eye drops
  • UV protecting sunglasses
  • Antihistamines (either tablets, or Opticrom eye drops)

These tips should help you survive the festival season with happy and healthy eyes. Even though your eyes are very important, don’t forget other essentials such as sunscreen, wellies, and a trusty torch. Make this festival experience an unforgettable one!