With the warm summer days come lots of a opportunities to swim. If you’re a contact lens wearer, you might be wondering if it’s okay to take the plunge with you’re lenses in. After all, how will you see otherwise? Unfortunately, we hate to be the bearers of bad news, but swimming with contacts can be very dangerous to your eyes. Read on to learn why and what to do instead.
Why you shouldn’t wear contacts while swimming
The FDA recommends that contact lenses should not be exposed to any kind of water. Swimming with contact lenses can result in eye infections and more serious conditions such as a corneal ulcer. This happens because microbes such as the Acanthamoeba organism survive in the space between the contact lens and the eye. Even after you take out and clean your lenses, the Acanthamoeba can still infect your eyes even days later as it is resistant to most disinfecting systems. Acanthamoeba keratitis, or inflamation of the cornea, is almost exclusively associated with wearing contacts and can cause vision loss.
Is swimming in a pool okay?
No, swimming in a pool is not okay. Even though many bacteria would be killed by the chlorine in most pools, it would not kill them all. Plus, the chlorine itself could cause a problem as the contact lenses could absorb the chemical and cause eye irritation. It may also make your lenses difficult to remove.
What to do instead?
Be sure to take your contact lenses out before coming in contact with water, even before taking a shower. If your vision is so bad you need corrective lenses at all times, invest in a good pair of prescription swimming goggles before diving in. These can also be made with UV protection for an added bonus against sun damage to your eyes.
Hitting the beach or the pool can be a fun way to beat the heat this summer. With a little precaution, you can keep your eyes healthy from the 4th to Labor Day weekend.