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Contact lenses vs glasses on trek

Level Contributor
20 posts
4 reviews
Contact lenses vs glasses on trek

Trekking for 2 months in Oct and Nov. I have purchased prescription sunglasses for the trek, as I am near-sighted.

I have a pair of glasses, but I'm wondering about getting contact lenses for the trip. I have never worn them. I wonder if they will be better than regular glasses?

If you wear both glasses and contact lenses, which did you choose for your trip? Did you end up preferring one over the other?

Level Contributor
3,873 posts
1. Re: Contact lenses vs glasses on trek

Do not get contacts for the trek if you have never worn them before. Contacts are always more hassle, also problems with hygiene, and there is also the problem of getting them and the cleaning fluids frozen during the night. Nepal is no place to start practising. For 60 days you need boxfuls of throw-away contacts which also take quite a lot of space.

I have trekked once with a lady who had contacts, so it is possible, but I myself returned back to regular glasses (myopic also) after about 2 years because my eyes started to complain even in normal home conditions. Besides, after a certain age one needs glasses anyway for reading, usually near-sighted persons get by by just not wearing their normal pair. If you were contacts, then it means reading glasses anyway.

Level Contributor
20 posts
4 reviews
2. Re: Contact lenses vs glasses on trek

Thanks for your reply. I didnt think about things freezing at night!

Kathmandu, Nepal
Level Contributor
259 posts
5 reviews
3. Re: Contact lenses vs glasses on trek

During the day contact lens can be better as I saw people are doing it in trek but during evening and morning people are staying with normal glass so it is up to you and specially better is to consult with your doctor I think.

Happy trip! G

Whangarei, New...
Level Contributor
1,991 posts
61 reviews
16 helpful votes
4. Re: Contact lenses vs glasses on trek


A few years ago I ran into a PhD student in Lukla researching the use of contact lenses by trekkers. And from the data, she had at that time advised me strongly against using contact lenses on a trek. The main issue seemed to be eye infections because of the dust in the air and general dirt and grime while trekking.


My Nepal Pages https://wanderingeric.org/category/nepal/

Port Perry, Canada
Level Contributor
376 posts
12 reviews
5 helpful votes
5. Re: Contact lenses vs glasses on trek

I wear glasses and am near sighted. I haven't had any problems with them/prescription sunglasses while trekking. I have not worn contacts before but I suspect as written above that hygiene will be an issue as there is a heck of a lot of dust around and you don't want to be dealing with potential dry eye if you don't know how you will fare with contact lenses as it's already dry as anything at high altitudes.

Stick with the glasses imo - less hassle. :)

Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
242 posts
8 reviews
3 helpful votes
6. Re: Contact lenses vs glasses on trek

Hi, as a younger man (prior to when I wore glasses) I independently trekked EBC in December and woke up one morning and literally couldn't open my eyes. I had to force my eyelids open with my fingers they were so crusted over. I had no idea what had happened. Luckily for me there was an American doctor travelling in a group and she said I had very severe conjunctivitis (a first for me). She said it was common in Nepal (despite good personal hygiene) due to dust borne pathogens from unburied animal & human waste that can get into your eyes.She cleaned me up, gave me drops and all was OK. Now that I wear glasses (and once used contacts for a period of time) I would never consider contacts for trekking in Nepal.

Surrey, United...
Level Contributor
2,891 posts
7. Re: Contact lenses vs glasses on trek

All 15 of my treks in Nepal, 1994 - 2018, I have used contact lenses, and carried back up glasses.

Hygiene is difficult, especially higher up where there is less water, more dust, and it is colder at night. I have been OK, but you need to be thorough and organised.

I have done 8 treks Dec - Jan, and 2 in Nov - I keep my contact lenses, and batteries and drinking water, near me at night to stop them freezing. Again with a bit of forethought and practice, it is doable.

BTW I used Cat 3 sunglasses - high up, and especially in the winter, the sun is very strong, and good sunglasses are essential, in my view.

8. Re: Contact lenses vs glasses on trek

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