Contact Lens Care – Summer Camping Style!

Summertime means people are enjoying the sunshine, traveling and doing outdoor activities. A favourite activity of my patients, friends and family is definitely camping! Here in beautiful British Columbia, we certainly have some amazing spots to enjoy. Lucky us!

Let’s talk about your eye health when it comes to contact lenses in camping situations. People who wear monthly disposable contact lenses may find it inconvenient to bring solutions to clean their contact lenses, or sometimes there are less than ideal situations for proper lens hygiene. While resorting to wearing glasses during the camp trip is definitely a good choice, there are actually a couple more options that are available.

There are many daily disposable contact lenses on the market – these are our #1 healthy choice because there is no need to clean them. After a day of use, you can dispose of them and wear a new pair the next morning. A few daily disposable contact lens brands also have UV protection and that’s a plus in terms of eye health. However, it is important to note that contact lenses with UV protection do not substitute for sunglasses because they do not cover the entire eye and the surrounding area. It is still a good idea to wear sunglasses for better overall protection.

Aside from daily disposable lenses, another option is Acuvue Oasys brand contact lenses, which also provide UV protection. This lens is usually a 2-week disposable lens when it is worn and cleaned daily, but it is also approved for 6 consecutive nights of extended wear. This means that you can wear the lens continuously, even during sleep, for up to six nights. If the contacts were worn continuously for 6 nights, they need to be replaced by a fresh pair of contacts on the 7th day. As long as your optometrist says this is alright given your existing eye health status, this can be a very convenient option. This is especially true if you’re camping anywhere without access to clean water for proper hand-washing.

If you are interested in exploring any of these options so that you can be a happy camper this summer, please don’t hesitate to give Vida Eyecare a call/email to book an appointment with one of our optometrists!

Here is a quick list of tips for camping + contact lenses:

  • Things to pack: your back-up glasses, a spare pair of contact lenses and artificial tears, cleaning solution just in case (even if you plan to sleep in lenses)!
  • Daily disposable lenses are our first recommended option, as your risk of infection is low5358084_orig
  • Ask to be fit with UV blocking lenses
  • Remember Acuvue Oasys needs to be disposed of after 6 nights of extended wear
  • Don’t forget the marshmallows!

Best regards,

Dr. Karen Lee

p.s. We do not ever recommend sleeping in lenses long-term. If it is safer/more sanitary for you to leave them inserted (i.e. camping, getting stuck overnight somewhere without a case and cleaning solution), then it is better to leave them in. Sleeping in lenses on a long-term bases, especially lenses that are not approved for such use, could lead to serious adverse affects. Best bet – go for your annual eye health exam and talk about your wearing habits with your optometrist 🙂

p.p.s. Acuvue has no idea we are writing this, and did NOT pay or ask us to endorse their lenses in anyway. Their lenses just happen to be great!


Happy New Year!

Did you know that at VIDA we are able to direct-bill to your extended medical insurance providers? You’re probably already used to direct-billing at your dentist or pharmacy, but there have been excellent advances in the past few years for eye care professionals. Early last year, we were thrilled to get started with a new online service by Telus Health. Extended medical providers sign up to be part of the service, and if yours happens to be one of them, direct billing for your eye exam fee and eye-wear orders is really efficient! Later in 2015, a couple other providers actually launched their own online systems as well. We love being able to offer this convenient service to our patients. When you come for your next visit, just bring in your extended medical card with the appropriate numbers that we will need.

Now that it’s 2016, a lot of extended medical plans have reset and you may have new amounts available to you depending on your last submission date and how many years you are required to wait between claims.

Your particular plan coverage is confidential to you and we usually do not have access to any of the specific details, so have a look at what you’re eligible for in advance. However, certain companies allow us to do what is called a ‘predetermination’, where we can basicallyinsurance-bn pretend to submit a claim for you and see what you will be covered for. Right now, we can do this for Chamber of Commerce, Great-West Life, and Standard Life. For all other companies, we only find out what you’re covered for once we make an actual claim on your behalf.

For those of you with more than one insurance policy, certain companies will allow us to coordinate with the secondary insurance provider as well, so bring that card with you too! Some companies only allow secondary coverage to be submitted manually by the plan member. If this is the case, we will give you an extra receipt for you to submit.

If you’re not sure if your policy allows direct-billing, or if you don’t know what your coverage is when you come in, I tell patients, “we can always try”. It only takes a few minutes to complete the submission on your behalf, and if it works out – bonus!

Here are the extended medical providers that we can currently direct-bill to (we hope the list will grow in 2016!):


Manulife Financial
Industrial Alliance
Great-West Life
Maximum Benefit
Sun Life
Standard Life
Chamber of Commerce
Johnson Inc.
Pacific Blue Cross
Green Shield

So, don’t forget about your extended medical insurance this year! If it has been 1-2 years since your last eye exam, give us a call or send an email to make an appointment with one of our amazing eye doctors. Be sure to mention that you have extended medical insurance, and we can even take down your plan numbers at the time of booking.

Best wishes to you all for 2016!


p.s. Please let me know if you have any questions or comments.