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Formalin & Contacts

Discussion in 'Medical Students - MD' started by Hematopoet, Dec 1, 2008.

  1. Hematopoet

    Hematopoet Arctic Fox 2+ Year Member

    Nov 23, 2008
    Oslo, Norway

    We will be doing a two-week intense dissection course soon and i am a little worried about the Formalin vapor getting absorbed by my soft 30-days contact lenses (I basically wear them for a whole month, even sleeping with them and switch to a new pair after) causing a prolonged exposure of formalin to the cornea and the eventual health risks that could be involved.

    As far as i know Formaldehyde and Formalin are relatively potent carcinogens i.e pregnant women wear facial masks for protection in Norway.

    Anyone has any experiences or valid information regarding this issue?

    P.S. It does make you really hungry, it would be interesting to find out the biochemical properties of this effect.
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  3. themudphud

    themudphud 2+ Year Member

    Nov 29, 2008
    Are you sure formalin is even being used as a preservative anymore? When I did anatomy lab ~6 yrs ago, I was told that formalin wasn't being used anymore due to the carcinogen thing. I would ask your anatomy courses directors to see if this is even an issue.
    Also, I would be shocked if there is data out there about formalin vapors getting to soft contact lenses. Why don't you just play it safe and wear glasses for a week?
    Finally, I used to get soooooo hungry during anatomy lab. To the point where by the end of our anatomy course, I used to bring sandwiches with me for mid-lab snack breaks!
  4. thechad

    thechad 5+ Year Member

    May 22, 2008
    I wore my contacts all through anatomy lab last semester without a problem. I sleep in mine as well, but I usually leave them in for 2 months or so at a time.
  5. turkeyjerky

    turkeyjerky Physician 7+ Year Member

    Sep 27, 2008
    I wore mine during anatomy lab, and also did not have any problems. The course director did, however, tell students at the beginning of the course not to wear contacts during lab.

    If you're worried, why don't you wear glasses during your dissections, or (god-forbid) just take off your contacts when you go to sleep.
  6. mjl1717

    mjl1717 Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    May 24, 2003
    I would wear eyeglasses during lab.. If you are vain where academic looking specs during lab but perhaps change back to contacts later..:idea:
  7. Sol Rosenberg

    Sol Rosenberg Long Live the New Flesh! 10+ Year Member

    Feb 11, 2006
    Living in America
    I wore my contacts all through anatomy lab (...just had the last one yesterday -- YES!) and had no problems. I wear 14 day replacement lenses, and don't [usually] sleep with them on.
  8. PeepshowJohnny

    PeepshowJohnny 2+ Year Member

    Jun 28, 2007
    Additional benefit of glasses: some splatter protection.
  9. Aesculapius

    Aesculapius Junior Member 10+ Year Member

    Dec 30, 2004
    Hematopoet, I have the same contacts that you do (or at least the same type). We've been doing dissection off and on for the past couple months. Haven't run into any issues that I know of.
  10. Hematopoet

    Hematopoet Arctic Fox 2+ Year Member

    Nov 23, 2008
    Oslo, Norway
    The problem is that i don't currently have a pair of glasses i could use, which off course would have been the ideal solution. I guess, i will take them off before i go to bed and clean them. I am weary about using lenses designed for optimal gas (O2) absorption in a Formalin containing environment for two weeks even though i don't expect any immediate health issues.
  11. CorazonDoc

    CorazonDoc 2+ Year Member

    Jul 17, 2008
    I would agree with previous posters, I wore contacts throughout anatomy lab. 10 hours a day for 2 weeks. I still have both my eyeballs.
  12. meister

    meister Senior Member Physician Gold Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

    Aug 24, 2004
    Ten hours a day for two weeks? What the hell kind of anatomy course is shoved into a two week period?
  13. CorazonDoc

    CorazonDoc 2+ Year Member

    Jul 17, 2008
    actually the 10 hours/day for 2 weeks was dissecting work i did for our prof during the summer after anatomy class was over, getting dissection examples ready for the next classes. could have spread it over a month, but i wanted the extra 2 weeks vacation, so I just pushed through.

    so much preservatives that i may have added a few years to my life. it didn't bother my contacts though.

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