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Workshop Contacts

I’ve always thought that the wearing of contact lenses should be
banned in a jewellery workshop. The hazards we all face in the
form of airborne acid droplets, dust etetera, are many times more
hazardous to the wearer of contacts. I suppose this is because if
a small particle of irritation gets into the eye and behind a
lens, the local environment there is pretty bad news for the eye.

But the other day my daughter was getting fitted for contacts
and as she works here for us in the workshop one day a week she
asked about this. The dispensing optician had never heard of this

What does the panel think? What does anyone else say about
contacts in the workshop? (no puns please)

Brian Adam ph/fx +64 9 817 6816 NEW ZEALAND

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I have been wearing my contact lenses in the workshop for
several years. I initially theorized that it could be a problem
and I’ve asked many people in the jewelry feild as well as my
optician. Nobody seem to think that there is any problem with it.
I think that if the proper eye protection is observed anyway…it
should be okay…



Where I work (a chemical analytical lab) contacts cannot be
worn. That is part of your condition of employment. It is
because of the safety hazard present with acids and the fact that
some insurance companies forbid it if you want to be insured.
The dust from flex shaft tools and the fumes from soldering can
damage the eye beyond repair in your jewelry shop. We only have
two of them so we need to take care of them.


What does the panel think? What does anyone else say about
contacts in the workshop? (no puns please)

I’ve worn contacts to work in the past with no really bad
experiences. Dust is a little more problematic than outdoor
environments but has never been a real problem. Someone
suggested to me years ago that iridio-platinum welding was
hazardous as the lense “could become fused to the eye”, but I
sure never experienced it. Today, I need bifocals, particularly
for work. This ends my contacts days as it requires me to wear
reading glasses if I wish to wear contacts.


The dental lab produces much the same kind of ‘dreck’ in the air
and in my thirty years I’ve seen at least 1 incidence of this
occuring to a contact wearer. I’ve seen several to people
without. This is about right since there are fewer contact
wearers, … but you know what? I’ve never seen it happen to
someone wearing good fitting safety glasses with sideshields.
I’m assuming that you mean at the bench, otherwise a couple of
aircleaning/negative ion machines will do wonders to reduce the


                                  Skip Meister
                                NRA Endowment and

I’ve been told that it isn’t a good idea to wear contacts in a
setting with small particles - like filings, around grinders etc
which could get underneath the lens as they can scratch the
cornea when trying to remove the contact. This was a few years
ago, I thought it might be ok to wear the breathable ones but was
told the gas permeable ones could react badly to solvents or
gasses in air that might be around. Was also told not to wear in
dusty conditions. This was by two different people, an
Opthamologist [not an optometrist] & someone who made contacts
so they weren’t trying to sell a different product - one even
knew he was going to lose a sale! was also told under no
circumstances to wear extended wear contacts in such an
environment. The contacts weren’t for “cosmetic” reasons, were
supposed to help with an astigmatism.

On a similar note, if anyone ever has to have an MRI do mention
you work with jewelry and if you’ve any chance of metal
grindings being imbedded in your body! (When I had mine they
asked specifically if I’d always worn safety glasses when
working with metal on grinder, sander etc!) FWIW, Kat