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Dry Eye Diva Fashion Disaster: Water And Contacts Don't Mix

Imagine a sexy and chic dinner gala at the illustrious Cipriani in New York… Cocktail attire, stilettos, and extra accents of makeup sparkled up the evening. The Dry Eye Divas were there! It was a fascinating evening, the “Eyes on New York” gala organized by the SUNY College of Optometry. We met an incredible array of eye health leaders and visionaries. However, the most impressive introduction was to the fiancée of one of the eye doctors. She was giddy to meet the Dry Eye Divas, as she explained that her fiancé, the male optometrist laughed at her questions about eye makeup usage and vision problems. She wanted us to give him a lesson. Our intrigue was peaked! This uber-lovely woman, painted with perfectly precise liquid eyeliner proceeded to ask us how best to clean her contact lenses when coated in eye makeup, mistakenly of course. She furthered with the fact that she will use soap and tap water to de-makeup her long-wear contact lenses, as nothing else will remove the waterproof cosmetic goo from her lenses. This is really a bother, as she cannot see properly when there is makeup on her lenses. Unfortunately, when she uses the soap & water, her eyes really bother her, from blurry vision to burning.

Cool crystal water may look clean and clear, but it is not made for contact lens cleaning!

Water is not germ-free. Distilled, bottled and tap water contain bacteria and even amœba. Yes, amœba are living organisms or tiny single-cell animals, or for easier purposes, bugs that love water. These amœba live in water and can infect our eyes when given the opportunity. Acanthamoeba is an amœba is found in tap water. If you use soap and water to clean cosmetic residue from your contact lenses this organism is introduced onto your lens. This organism invades the eye via the cornea and causes a painful and potentially blinding infection (Acanthamoeba keratitis) that can take a long time to resolve and often leads to vision loss.

Dry Eye Diva Tips:

  • Wash and dry your hands before applying your eye makeup and contact lenses

  • Avoid waterproof cosmetics around the eye – they are challenging to remove and can lead to complications with your contact lens uses

  • Ask your eye doctor about whether it’s better to apply lenses before or after makeup application

  • Avoid water, Madame Contact lens Wearer – this means even from your shower or swimmingAsk about daily disposable options for contact lens use

  • Always remove lenses before removing your makeup, and do this nightly

  • Speak with your eye doctor about how to properly clean makeup off your contact lens

Dry Eye Divas attended the Eyes on New York Gala, which raised nearly $250,000 for The Optometric Center of New York (OCNY), the affiliated foundation of the SUNY College of Optometry

Bottom line: Water is dirty! The FDA recommends to “never use non-sterile water (distilled water, tap water or any homemade saline solution)” to clean your contact lenses.”

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