How Hot and Cold Temperatures Affect Contact Lenses

Too many people prefer to wear contact lenses than glasses, and everyone can tell why. The most obvious reason is – for a more natural look.

However, even though contact lenses provide the same treatments as glasses with no obvious notion of the treatment, it does have a bit of a backpack. For instance, contact lens materials are very vulnerable when in contact with water, and they can contact germs and other eye inconveniences. But that’s not all.

In addition to the contact lenses’ susceptibility to water content, extreme temperatures also affect the quality of your lenses. That’s why contact lens wearers need to understand what extreme temperatures are when these temperatures are experienced and most of all, how to store and wear contact lenses during these times.

If you’re set to know all of these, let’s dive into how hot and cold weather can impact your lenses and how to keep your eyes comfortable year-round.

Hot Weather Impact on Contact Lenses

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Before going too far in, let’s debunk one of the greatest myths. No, hot weather does not melt contact lenses. However, the heat, sweat, and general temperature extremes can lead to certain discomfort that you may find familiar if you regularly wear contacts. Below are some of those discomforts:


Did you know that you don’t have to necessarily cry for the sun to evaporate your tears? Healthline emphasizes that heat can cause tears to evaporate faster, potentially leading to dryness – and this is whether or not you’re wearing contact lenses. There’s even a conception that use of contact lenses may increase the chances of dryness during summertime and other extreme heat waves.

But how does that affect the wearer?

When tears from the tear film is evaporated as a high rate, there’s directly a rapid decrease in the eye’s moisture content, leading to eye irritation. Dry eyes also cause itchy and red eyes, the feeling of grittiness, and vision issues, including blurry vision.

Sweat Woes

Another inevitability during extreme heat temperature is sweating. However, while sweating may not be much of a concern, sweating with contact lenses is.

Number one, sweat can get trapped under your contact lens, leading to eye infections, eye irritation, vision issues, or even more pronounced eye problems like acanthamoeba keratitis.

A rare but serious eye infection, acanthamoeba keratitis (AK) is caused by amoeba commonly found in soil and water. While the amoeba can infect the cornea, the infection is most often linked to contact lens wear, especially if exposed to contaminated water (like sweat) or improper hygiene practices. AK can cause permanent vision damage or even blindness if left untreated.

But it’s not just the hot weather that impacts contact lenses. Let’s see how the cold weather tampers with the tear film and lens material.

Cold Weather Impact on Contact Lenses

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Unlike the heated extreme temperatures, cold weather may not bring a blinding eye infection to the table. However, contact lens wearers are not safe from the impact of winter woes either.

Reduced Tear Production

In the hot weather, the tear film was disrupted by evaporation, which reduced the tear content for moisture. Here, the cold weather ultimately hits the eye at the core. The thing is, in colder temperatures, the body naturally produces fewer tears which, again, brings the eye to a dry place. Not only will contact lens wear be uncomfortable, but eye irritation, itchiness, and redness, will also be a part of the experience.


Besides the reduced tears, cold air and wind also dry out the eyes. While some contact lens users have opted for UV-shielded goggles and other options to save eye moisture, the combination of reduced tear production, the cold air dey event, and the dry wind make it more challenging to keep the eye moisturized.

Indoor Heating

Those who wear lenses may want to try their luck with indoor heating (since it’ll erase the cold air and the wind). However, artificial heating can further dry out the air in your home or office which adds insult to injury for your already parched eyes and lenses.

However, there are ways out of these. You can either opt for lens material that can withstand the temperature extremes or you can sign in to proper contact lens care for hot and cold conditions.

Lens Materials More Suitable for Extreme Temperatures

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Just like there are thousands of contact lens brands, the lens materials are even more plentiful. With numerous names to choose from, it can be a bit of a challenge to pick the contact lenses with the right lens material for these extremities. However, just as we have been doing from the start, we are here to offer you the solution.

Among the thousands of materials manufactured by brands, they are all grouped into two distinct lens types: Soft and Hard contact lenses.

Soft Lenses

This contact lenses are made of flexible and water-absorbent materials like silicone hydrogel. Due to the material they are made of, they usually feel more comfortable upon insertion and they conform well to the shape of your eye.

However, comfort is not the only advantage that soft contact lenses bring to the table. Another great selling point for this contact lens is its versatility to treat numerous eye problems, including near and far-sightedness. While it may not be best for astigmatism correction, it is also the best option for a first-time contact lens wearer.

Hard Lenses

Also referred to as Rigid Gas Permeable (RGP) lenses, it is constructed from rigid, gas-permeable plastics. Unlike soft lenses, these types hold their shape well and allow more oxygen to reach your cornea. They are the best in treating astigmatism and can help with eye problems that require re-shaping the base curve of the eye cornea.

In addition to this, the lenses are more durable and less prone to tears and rips since handling contact lenses in itself is a risk.

Note that, while you may need an eye doctor to tell you which lens material is the best for you, here are some recommendations.

What Contact Lens Materials are Best for Extreme Temperatures?

At the end of the day, the hard contact lenses are the best material for extreme hot and cold conditions for several reasons:

  1. Hard lenses allow more oxygen to reach the cornea, allowing for less susceptibility to eye dryness.
  2. You may reach for your eye more than normal in conditions like intense heat or cold. Hard lenses will keep their shape and not slide out of the eye because of their rigidity.
  3. Hard lenses provide a crisp and clearer vision, especially for astigmatism and higher prescriptions even in heat or snow waves.
  4. RGP lenses are more durable and can last longer than soft lenses.
  5. They are also lenses that are mostly prescribed for those with allergies – which are common during temperature extremes.

Tips for Wearing Contact Lenses in Hot Weather

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Now that you know the types of lenses you need for extreme conditions, here are some ways to keep your eyes happy and healthy during the hot summer months (we’ll still talk about the cold temperatures).

Artificial tears

Exposure to heat and high temperature can cause dryness to the eye and one way to prevent the effect of dryness is by putting on artificial tears. A lifesaver for anyone who experiences dry, irritated eyes, they are lubricating eye drops that mimic the natural tears.

There are various types of available over-the-counter, each with slightly different properties:

  • Simple Lubricating Drops: These provide basic moisture and are suitable for mild dryness.
  • Thicker Gels: Offer longer-lasting lubrication and are helpful for moderate to severe dry eye.
  • Preservative-Free Options: Gentler for sensitive eyes, as some preservatives can cause irritation.

How to Use the Rewetting Drops

Using these lubricating drops is generally straightforward, but here are some tips:

  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and clean water before touching your eyes.
  • Tilt your head back and gently pull down your lower eyelid.
  • Apply 1-2 drops into the lower eyelid space.
  • Close your eye for a few seconds and gently massage the inner corner of your eye.
  • Repeat in the other eye.


Besides the rewetting drops, another lifesaver during the hot weather is sunglasses. Putting on a pair of glasses will not only prevent the direct evaporation of tears from your eyes, but they will also block the sun’s UV rays from reaching the eye.

Many studies have explored the effect of UV rays on the eye and results showed that overexposure of the rays to the eye can lead to cornea sunburn (photokeratitis). Symptoms of photokeratitis include eye pain, redness, sensitivity to light, and temporary vision loss. Other adverse effects include clouding of the eye’s natural lens, leading to blurry vision or skin cancer around the eyelids.

Besides sunglasses, wearing contact lenses with UV protection is an alternative for extreme temperatures. However, you need to be sure that the contact lens does say ‘UV protection’ because a regular contact lens may not do it justice.

Avoid swimming with lenses

Summer and swimming go hand-in-hand. However, it’s recommended to remove lenses before going in the water. Unfortunately, the chlorine and bacteria in pools and hot tubs can irritate your eyes and damage your lenses. So, while you avoid water, you can opt for goggles instead. Remember to store your contact lenses properly in a lens solution and inside the contact lens case.

Cleanliness is key

Finally, you must ensure that you conduct proper contact lens care, especially during the hot weather. Sweat, dirt, and bacteria (no matter how careful you are) may have clogged under the lenses during wear.

Therefore, you need to carefully clean your lenses in a fresh solution, or wash them carefully with saline solution (do not use water to wash your lenses). After washing, remember to store and dry them. Do not re-use the contact lens until it is completely dry. A better alternative is to use daily disposable lenses for easier cleaning and maintenance.

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Is it Safe to Wear My Contact Lenses in a Bathtub or Hot Tub?

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We mentioned in the previous post that swimming with contact lenses is a no-go. But what about soaking in a bathtub or hot tub? The answer might surprise you.

Here’s why wearing contacts in a bathtub or hot tub is generally not recommended:

  1. Your contact lenses may become contaminated: Even though the water might seem clean, it can harbour bacteria, amoebas like Acanthamoeba, and other microorganisms that tamper with eye health. These can get trapped under your lenses and lead to serious eye infections.
  2. Chlorine and other chemicals used to sanitize hot tubs can irritate your eyes, and damage your lenses.
  3. The hot water could dry out your contacts and lead to infection.

Keep Your Eyes Sweat-Free

We’ve covered the dangers of water and extreme temperatures, but what about sweat? During exercise or hot days, sweat can irritate your eyes and compromise your contact lenses. Here are some tips to keep your eyes sweat-free and maintain proper contact lens hygiene:

  1. Blot, Don’t Rub: When sweat accumulates around your eyes, gently blot it with a clean, lint-free tissue. Rubbing can irritate your eyes and dislodge your lenses.
  2. Headbands are Your Friend: Wear a sweat-wicking headband to absorb sweat before it reaches your eyes.
  3. Cleanliness: Before handling your lenses, always wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water. This helps prevent bacteria transfer from your hands to your eyes which causes infection.
  4. Carry Eye Drops: Pack lubricating eye drops in your gym bag or purse. A quick drop can rehydrate your eyes and alleviate dryness caused by sweat.

How to Wear Contact Lenses in Cold Weather

Now, it’s time for the cold weather solutions. Unlike the hot weather where the target was dryness and sweat, this time, it is all about dryness. Therefore, try these tips for eye health during cold temperatures.

  1. Hydration: The number one thing to do is to drink as much water as possible so that your body can be hydrated. Remember that the cold temperatures influence the ability of the body to produce tears. By drinking enough water content, you can mitigate this effect.
  2. Humidifiers: Instead of indoor heating, try adding an indoor humidifier to erase the effect of dryness to the eyes at home as well.
  3. Artificial Tears are Your Allies: Finally, carry lubricating eye drops with you all the time. Apply them throughout the day, especially when your eyes feel dry or irritated and best of all, opt for preservative-free options if you have sensitive eyes.

Follow the Manufacturer’s Instructions for Cleaning

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Following the manufacturer’s instructions is the best way to achieve proper contact lens care. Therefore, according to the manufacturer’s instructions, the following are the things to note:

  1. Each contact lenses have its unique contact lens solution. Therefore, avoid using old solutions or refilling a lens solution just because you have some left. Always ensure to use the specific contact lens solution for your lenses.
  2. Contact lenses have specific guidelines for cleaning. Always check the back for the best cleaning routine according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  3. Always store your contacts in the contact lens case and in a dry place. Avoid filling the case with water. Instead, use the contacts’ prescribed solution.
  4. Avoid using contact lenses all the time. Give your eyes a break and use glasses when you can. Just like contact lenses, remember to get your glasses properly cleaned to maintain eye health and avoid transferring dirt to your lenses.

What is the best storage temperature for contact lens?

The best storage temperature for contact lenses is simply room temperature. Avoid any extreme temperatures, whether hot or cold. Here’s why:

High temperatures can warp or deform the shape of your lenses, making them uncomfortable to wear and potentially blurring your vision. On the other hand, cold temperatures can make your lenses stiff and brittle, increasing the risk of tearing or breakage.

So, skip the refrigerator or the car dashboard and find a cool, dry place at room temperature to store your contact lens case. This will help keep your lenses in their best shape for comfortable wear.