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Question:
Can contact lenses melt to a person's eyes? There is a story circulating online that talks of a man staring into a BBQ fire for 2 to 3 minutes, which resulted in his contacts melting to his eyes and him going blind. A friend of mine thinks this is true and could happen but I disagree.

Answer:
Contact lenses are made from various plastic polymers so if exposed to a high enough temperature, they could certainly melt. Having said that, staring into a fire for two to three minutes would not allow the contact to reach its melting point unless the person was actually in the fire at which point they would experience severe life-threatening burns to the body and eyes. Staring into a fire could certainly lead to evaporation of the tear layer faster than normal which simulates a temporary evaporative dry eye condition. Dry eyes without adequate tear moisture could lead to difficulty getting the contact lens out of the eye, making it feel like the contacts were stuck to the eye but they actually would not be and a drop of artificial tears would be enough lubrication to help with removal of the contact. Patients that develop dry eye disease often become contact lens intolerant for the same reason and often develop discomfort to the point they have to discontinue contact lens wear.

Answered by: W. Barry Lee, MD  Dr. W. Barry Lee

Categories: Eye Injuries, Vision Correction

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Answered: Apr 25, 2013

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