by Mel McCombie
We’re on a long dive trip and wondering about some everyday practical things—diving with contact lenses, sun protection—and wondered what others have to say? For example, I dive with soft contact lenses; I notice that during dives, when my eyes encounter sea water, they create mucus (which I delicately term “eye boogers”), and I need to rinse out my contacts between dives. Recently, I switched to daily wear contacts, and I’ve noticed that they tend to absorb more from the sea, and clean up between dives less well than my old two-week wear/disinfect at night contacts. Any diving eye docs have a view on this? Is it just me? I’m thinking of switching to my old contacts during dive trips since they seem to stay cleaner.
Sunblock is both a necessity and a vexation. After years of trial and error, we have determined that sunblock made for babies, containing zinc or titanium oxide in an occlusive base, works well—we have found that sunblocks depending on a chemical formulation (avobensone, oxybenzone, etc., typical of Neutrogena’s Helioplex and Anthelios Cell-Ox) sting and hurt your eyes while your mask is on, made worse when you wear contact lenses. The downside of baby sunblock is its glowing white appearance. This trip, we are trying sunblock from Elta MD and find it less white but very effective. What do you do?
After applying sunblock, I always wash my hands carefully before diving to prevent getting sunblock on my mask. If you get sunblock in your mask, prepare for fogging. My favorite mask goo, 200 Foot Viz, is no longer made, and I’m trying out Spit (the brand, not saliva). Any ideas from other fans of 200 Foot Viz? My husband’s technique to clean the inside of a new mask is regular Colgate and an electric toothbrush, repeated about 10 times. What do you do?
I also clean off my custom molded mouthpiece on my reg with Colgate and the electric toothbrush. Minty fresh and cavity protection, and keeps the nasty brown stuff at bay. But the mouthpiece gets nasty fast. Ideas?
Ears also demand attention, and my diving ENT recommends displacing seawater with ethyl (grain) alcohol after diving. It’s cheap, effective, and can make a Bloody Mary in a pinch! What’s your favorite ear beer? For those rare instances when we get external otitis, we use CiproDex, a costly prescription ear drop that combines a steroid and antibiotic.
Time to put in fresh contact lenses! Hope readers can share their ideas!