Bacteria can easily settle in your eyes if you swim while wearing contacts. Their presence can result in eye infections, irritation and even corneal ulcer.
In this post, your local eyeglasses provider, Guilford Eye Center, discusses why you should not wear contact lenses while swimming.
Dangers of Swimming While Wearing Contacts
According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), contact lenses should not be exposed to any kind of water, including tap water, water in pools, showers, hot tubs, oceans and lakes.
Water can be contaminated with harmful bacteria and viruses. One of which is the Acanthamoeba organism, which can settle onto contact lenses and cause infection and inflammation in the cornea. It can lead to a condition called Acanthamoeba keratitis, which is linked to wearing contact lenses while swimming and can even result in permanent vision loss. In some cases, a corneal transplant is necessary to revive lost vision if the condition isn’t treated early.
Immediately remove and disinfect your contact lenses to reduce your risk of eye irritation and infection. Always follow the recommendation of your eye doctor when it comes to contact lens wear.
You should never wear rigid gas permeable contact lenses while you’re in the water as they are more likely to dislodge from your eyes. Soft contact lenses may stay intact in your eye when swimming, but their porous surface can absorb chemicals and bacteria, putting you at risk of eye irritation and infection.
Moreover, chlorinated water washes away the natural tears that lubricate your eyes, making dry eye worse.
Daily disposable contact lenses are your safest option if you do decide to wear contacts while swimming. Immediately discard the lenses after swimming and rinse your eyes with lubricating eye drops.
The best and safest way to reduce your risk of eye irritation is by wearing waterproof swim goggles. Wearing swim goggles also decreases the risk of contacts falling from your eyes.
Another great option is prescription swim goggles. This eyewear is custom-made to correct a refractive error like typical eyeglasses. They let you see clearly underwater without the dangers of swimming with contacts.
At Guilford Eye Center, we offer different eyeglass lenses and lens treatments for different needs. Visit us for an eye exam so we can start improving your vision. Call us at (336) 387-6777, or complete our online form to schedule an appointment. We help patients in Greensboro, NC.