Contact Lenses and the Desert

Off to TELIC soon.

On the ground mostly, and not in a headquarters.

Does anyone know if the conditions on the ground are suitable for me to continue wearing contact lenses, or will I have to revert to goggs.

From experience in Jordan and Iraq I'd say contact lenses are definately practical.

However, I'd add the caveat that I used disposable ones throughout both. I wouldn't rely too heavily on gas permeable ones - too much opportunity for dust to creep in and scratch them when you clean them.

I didn't take mine with me on Telic 1 and was glad that I hadn't. Trying to keep myself clean was bad enough but trying to keep hard lenses clean would have been impossible, IMHO, apart from the huge amounts of fine dust in the air. The dust thrown up by vehicles, choppers and the wind is very fine and gets everywhere.

A good supply of soft, disposable lenses might just work, but take your specs as backup.

Should be okay with throwaways, issue goggles are good (but scratch easily). The only concern is sudden dust storms - but these tend to be more common in early summer so you will miss them.
I used mine for about 10 minutes in the Sahara; but they were gas perms. There's an article in The Sunday Times Magazine, profiling a lad who got an ulcer on his eye when using contact lenses. Take them with you and see what happens, but as has been said, take your gigs.
Used mine on Telic 6, definately a better option than glasses.

No probs with sandstorms as long as you have an ok pair of goggles to cover them. (Wiley X did the job)
Daily disposable work best for me. Even monthly ones don't last the dry and dustyness. Made a habit of wearing spunk deflectors on Sundays to avoid problems.
I wore monthly disposables during Telic 5 and had no problems. Was in a HQ though which probably helped.

Very many thanks for some superbly useful responses.

Didn't want to get a big 7 month order in, only to find them sitting in the bottom of my comfy box for the tour.

Daily disposables on TELIC 1 in the "field" most of the time (the one without grass) - laughing. Although another bod in similar job wore monthlies which were probably the healthier option (hygiene, dirty fingers, etc.) without any probs at all.
I have 30 day disposibles and wore them on both TELIC 4 and 6. I was largely working outside including a lot of convoys and had no real problems as long as I kept goggles on for the convoys and sunnies the rest of the time. Just keep some eye drops/eye wash handy incase you do get a load of shit in them (which happened to me a couple of times).

Apart from that you should be okay, but glasses too wouldn't be a bad idea.
Have you considered having surgery such a PRK ?
My optician recommended using monthly contact lenses and he was quite right. Once they are in, dust doesn't easily get behing them. Daily lenses are problematic because it is hard to keep hands clean enough to put them in and take them out.
If you are going to try the monthly put em in and forget about them lenses its worth giving them a trial before you jet off as they can be a bit tricky for certain lense wearers to get to grips with.

I use monthlies as above, but have quite a few on stand by so I can sacrifice them when the inevitable cloud of sand/dust gets you in the grid

I also carry a back up daily disposables incase it starts getting a bit emotional (the monthlies can some times leave you waking up with a bit more "sleep" in your eyes than usual, combine this with dust and a basic personal admin environment and it can be a bit uncomfortable)

Its nice to get your Mr Magoo's back at your grot when nowts going on
On a Saudi Navaids contract in the late '70s, I wore hard lenses with minimal problems - lots of time spent out on the airfields with passing pocket rockets and civil traffic to add to the natural breezes.Fine sand everywhere with daily twirlies (dust devils) - I don't remember ever having a serious problem that a quick rinse didn't fix.

As they say over here - your mileage may vary! :)

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