Swimming with Contact Lenses – Eye Care During the Summer Days
When the sun is out and the weather is good, going for a swim is often at the top of many “to-do” lists. Whether it’s a pool at home, a community aquatic center, or even the ocean, cooling off and splashing about is a fun activity no matter the age. For those who wear contact lenses, however, the opportunity to swim often comes with some questions.
Should you take your contacts out before you get in the water, or is it okay to swim with them? It’s essential to understand the right steps to take to ensure you can safely enjoy the water. That is why, generally speaking, eye care practitioners don’t recommend that you wear contacts while swimming.
Why is Swimming with Contacts Not Often a Good Idea?
Based on CDC (Center for Disease Control) and FDA guidelines, it’s not just the chlorinated water of a swimming pool you should avoid. Any water at all can risk the integrity of your contact lenses and the health of your eyes. Ultimately, you shouldn’t swim with contacts for the same reason you shouldn’t rinse them with tap water: you substantially increase the risk of infection and irritation.
When swimming, it’s especially easy for water to become come between your contacts and your eyes. This water may be harboring pathogens, some of which can pose a direct threat to your vision over the long term, such as Acanthamoeba. Contact lenses are absorb microorganisms. Because it is virtually impossible completely avoid water entering the eyes swimming, always take the time to remove your contacts before aquatic activities — it’s worth the effort.
Caring for Your Eyes When You Do Swim with Contacts
While taking your contacts out before a swim is the correct rule to follow, there may still be times when you find yourself in the water without a chance to remove them first. The opportunity to swim may arise spontaneously, or you might simply forget to take your lenses out until it’s too late. If or when that happens, there are some tips you can keep in mind to continue caring for your eyes.
- Wear goggles. Create a barrier between your eyes and the water to minimize the amount of exposure your contacts experience. It is still much safer to swim without your lenses.
- Remove the lenses immediately and discard them. Open a new set of fresh lenses that have not been in contact with water.
Have you recently gone swimming with your contacts and subsequently developed discomfort? Perhaps you have some further questions about swimming and eye care. At Miami Contact Lens Institute, we’re always happy to discuss your concerns and, where necessary, arrange for treatment. To schedule an appointment, please contact us now.