Though tempting, wearing contact lenses while swimming can leave your eyes vulnerable to contamination by harmful bacteria and chemicals present in the water. This can result in eye irritation, infections and sight-threatening conditions such as corneal ulcers. Moreover, swimming in contact lenses may alter their shape, causing blurred vision and discomfort.
If you absolutely must wear contact lenses to swim, opt for daily disposables and combine them with waterproof swimming goggles. Alternately, you can wear prescription goggles to see clearly underwater.
Why Should I Avoid Wearing Contact Lenses While Swimming?
Swimming pools, rivers, oceans, and other bodies of water (including tap water) are laden with bacteria, viruses, and microorganisms—many of which can harm your eyes. The soft contact lenses’ porous material easily absorbs chemicals and bacteria, increasing the risk of eye irritation and infection.
One of the more harmful organisms often found in water sites is Acanthamoeba, which, when in contact with your contact lenses can potentially lead to eye infections. This condition, called Acanthamoeba Keratitis, may cause permanent vision loss and even require a corneal transplant to recover lost vision if not treated early enough.
Moreover, contact lenses absorb water, causing their shape to change. This results in contact lens discomfort as well as blurred and distorted vision.
What if I must wear contact lenses to swim?
If, for whatever reason, you must wear contact lenses to swim, consider wearing daily disposables together with waterproof swimming goggles. Aside from protecting your vision, goggles reduce the risk of your contacts dislodging from your eyes.
Because water hosts many potentially harmful microorganisms, daily contact lenses allow you to swim in lenses without needing to sterilize them afterward. Just insert them prior to heading into the water and dispose of them immediately after.
If at any point during your swim, you feel eye discomfort, immediately remove the lenses.
For more advice on swimming with contact lenses, speak with one of our doctors in one of our 5 locations today.
What are the Alternatives to Wearing Contact Lenses For Swimming?
Custom-made prescription swimming goggles are a worthwhile investment for regular swimmers.
Just like glasses, they correct refractive errors, such as myopia (shortsightedness or nearsightedness), hyperopia (longsightedness or farsightedness) and presbyopia. Moreover, prescription goggles are sealed so that water doesn’t come into contact with your eyes. This allows you to see clearly underwater without any risk of contamination.
Certain brands conveniently offer ready-made prescription swimming goggles. But prior to making the purchase, we advise that you check the goggles against your prescription to make sure they match.
Dr. Kosnoski at Kosnoski Eye Care will be happy to advise you on your best eyewear options for swimming and other activities you enjoy.
What if Water Comes Into Contact With My Contact Lenses?
In the event that water comes into contact with your lenses, make sure to immediately remove, clean and disinfect your contact lenses. This will reduce your risk of eye irritation and other complications.
Contact Dr. Kosnoski immediately if you experience prolonged eye irritation or sensitivity to light after wearing your contact lenses in water.
Kosnoski Eye Care serves patients from one of our 5 locations, throughout Washington .
We offer the best eye care services for you & your family. Most vision and medical insurances accepted.
- A: They're perfectly fine, but it all depends on your eyes. Each person has a different tolerance level to contact lenses. Speak with your eye doctor to determine whether contacts are a good option for you.
- A: Daily disposable contact lenses are great for many reasons. The possibility of infection diminishes since a new sterile lens is inserted every day. In other words, there's no need to clean the lens or case. Dailies are also a great option for patients that have allergies, contact lens solution sensitivities and dry eye, as it eliminates the build-up of contaminants on the lenses that can exacerbate those problems. Dailies make for a low-maintenance and comfortable option for any patient!
Quality Frames For Prescription Eyeglasses & Computer Glasses. Visit Kosnoski Eye Care for an eye exam and eyeglasses that match your style.