Can artificial or contact Eye lens melt in eyes due to heat while cooking

Rumour posted on social media – The below message has been circulated on social media (facebook, WhatsApp, twitter, etc).

“A 21 year old girl had worn a pair of contact lenses during a barbecue party. She stared at the fire charcoals continuously for 2-3 minutes, after which she started to scream for help. When she was admitted into the hospital, the doctor said she'll be blind permanently because the heat from the charcoal melted her contact lenses.”

To know this answer, you need to know what eye lens is made of –

To make contact lenses, polymer is used. Polymer comprises of large molecules or macromolecule, composed of many repeated subunits. When these polymers are mixed with different substances, they form different variety of contract lenses. Each with different heating properties.

  • Polymethyl methcrylate (PMMA) – use to create hard lenses.
  • Hydroxyethyl methacrylate (pHEMA) – used to create soft lenses. It is often known as Copolymers of pHEMA, and are most widely used lenses.

Melting points of PMMA - 160 °C

Melting points of pHEMA – Metliing point of pHEMA is -99 °C . But It does not define the melting point of contact lenses. As soft lenses are made by combining many chemical substances. Nowadays, most of the soft lenses are made using Hydrogel. Hydrogel is commonly known as water absorbing polymer. To transmit oxygen to the eyes through contact lenses. 

Question – Does contact lenses melt while cooking?

The answer is no. When artifical contact lenses are manufactured in factory, it is assured that proper quality control methodology is followed to assure the quality and certified product. There are several government agencies under whose supervision it is created and inspected at each and every step.

If a person merely stares at Fire, then it can never cause lenses to melt, as it would not reach its melting point at such temperature. It can only melt if the person is actually burning which leads the lenses to melt. The message that is being spread is that someone eating food in BBQ (Barbeque) was staring at charcoal and her lenses melted is difficult to believe and digest.

About The Author

Chetan Sharma is an Indian fact-checker and news writer, writing news for Ayupp since 2014.

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