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Contact Lenses in the Lab

Contact Lenses in the Lab

Some laboratories permit the use of contact lenses as long as the appropriate protective eyewear is still being worn. There appears to be some debate as to the real dangers of wearing contact lenses in the lab when the proper precautions are being taken

by Lab Manager
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It is recommended that contact lenses not be permitted in the laboratory. The reasons for this prohibition are:

  • If a corrosive liquid should splash in the eye, the natural reflex to clamp the eyelids shut makes it very difficult, if not impossible, to remove the contact lens before damage is done.
  • The plastic used in contact lenses is permeable to some of the vapors found in the laboratory. These vapors can be trapped behind the lenses and can cause extensive irritation.
  • The lenses can prevent tears from removing the irritant. If Departmental Chemical Hygiene Officer chooses to allow contact lenses to be worn, they shall be protected by goggles designed specifically for use with contact lenses. (The protective goggles for use with contact lenses fit loosely around the eyes and have no vents for access by vapors.) If chemical vapors contact the eyes while wearing contact lenses, these steps should be followed:
    • Immediately remove the lenses.
    • Continuously flush the eyes, for at least 15 to 30 minutes.
    • Seek medical attention.