Like eyeglasses, contact lenses can correct nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism and other refractive errors. While they are convenient and allow you to see clearly, there are situations where you shouldn’t wear them. For instance, it’s not a good idea to wear your contacts in the water, whether in a hot tub, pool, lake or ocean.
Here are the risks of wearing contact lenses in the water.
Risks Associated With Wearing Contacts in Water
Your eyes need to breathe to remain healthy, which is why contact lenses are porous. It means viruses, germs and other microorganisms present in the water can adhere to your lenses. When this happens, it will be easier for them to infect your eyes. Swimming or showering with your contact lenses puts you at higher risk of conjunctivitis and even more severe infections like Acanthamoeba keratitis.
Irritation From Chemicals
Swimming pools are treated with chemicals like chlorine to get rid of harmful microorganisms. However, these chemicals can cause eye irritation and discomfort, especially when you’re wearing contacts. Your eyes can also get red and itchy after exposure to pool water.
There is a high chance you will lose your contact lenses if you don’t take them off before swimming. It can be especially inconvenient if you’re on vacation or out of town.
Dirt, sand and other debris can get stuck under your contact lenses. These particles can rub against your eyes, potentially causing scratches on the cornea. Corneal abrasion can be painful and make it difficult to close your eyes. If there is a foreign object lodged in your eye, don’t attempt to remove it on your own. Instead, see your eye doctor for proper treatment.
What Can You Do to Protect Your Eyes?
If you wish to keep your contacts on while swimming, be sure to wear goggles. It can prevent water and foreign objects from entering your eyes. Another plus is you’ll see clearly underwater.
When you’re done swimming, remove your contact lenses and rinse them with the recommended solution. Ideally, you should allow the lenses to rest in a case filled with solution overnight. It can help eliminate microorganisms that can cause eye infections. If you need to use the lenses right away, let them soak in the solution for at least a couple of minutes.
Contact lenses are generally safe and convenient to use as long as you care for them properly. Northern Virginia Doctors of Optometry is here for your vision correction needs. Our team also specializes in low vision therapy, dry eye treatment and sports vision training. Call us at (703) 467-9080 or fill out our online form to request an appointment. We assist patients in Reston, VA, and nearby areas.