One time, when I was in high school, I chose to swim with contacts during a pool day. It was probably one of the most uncomfortable experiences I've ever felt. Not only did they burn right after, one of my contacts also got stuck on my eyeball, which made it pretty difficult to remove. Bottom line: I never did that again, and became extremely cautious of my contact lenses getting in touch with any kind of water. If you're wondering if it's safe to swim with contact lenses, please read on to see why you should avoid the seemingly harmless habit.
According to All About Vision, "Swimming with contact lenses should be avoided whenever possible to help prevent bacterial contamination of your eye. Swimming with contacts can result in eye infections, irritation and potentially sight-threatening conditions such as a corneal ulcer." OOF. Oh, and in case you were wondering, swimming pools aren't the only place you shouldn't be wearing your contacts. According to the FDA, "contact lenses should not be exposed to any kind of water, including tap water and water in swimming pools, oceans, lakes, hot tubs and showers." Showers! Who knew?
I'm glad that my eyes didn't get seriously infected, but have definitely learned from that scary experience. For other contact lens wearers out there, I understand it may be a hassle to swim without your contacts because of vision purposes, but trust, it's definitely worth it to be on the safe side.
In the event you do decide to swim with your contact lenses, here are other alternatives and tips to make sure you keep your contacts clean and your eyes safe:
If you decide to go underwater with your contacts, try wearing goggles to protect your eyes. All About Vision said, "In addition to protecting your eyes from waterborne contaminants, swim goggles reduce the risk of your contacts dislodging from your eyes." There are also options for getting prescription goggles as well, if you frequently swim.
Don’t Go Underwater
If you must wear your contacts while you're spending your day at the pool (I get it, it's more of a tanning thing, than actually swimming), I would highly suggest not going underwater. Maybe try to stay poolside or just dip in the water without going all the way in.
Disinfect Your Contact Lenses
Biotrue Multi-purpose Solution Travel 2 oz. (Pack of 1), Amazon.com, $5.79
If you still decide to go in the water with your contacts, make sure you disinfect them and rinse them with solution immediately. According to 1-800-Contacts, the quicker you disinfect your contact lenses, the less chance bacteria will thrive on them.
Change Your Contact Lenses
If you know you're going to swim, you might want to consider switching to daily disposable contact lenses.
As long as you take precaution, you and your eyes should have a pleasant and safe summer by the water!
Images: Pixabay (2); Courtesy of Brands