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.
Avoid Using Tap Water For Rinsing Or Storing Contacts
Theres a reason why we need to clean and disinfect contacts we remove and put on again using the proper products prescribed by your eye doctor: It helps get rid of organisms and keep your eyes healthy.
For best results, use the rub and rinse regimen methodeven if you have no rub solution.
Daily disposable contacts may help reduce the risk of eye infections. But be aware, wearing them doesnt completely eliminate the risk of an infection occurring. However, wearing daily disposables will help you in other ways, like avoiding the need for daily cleaning routines and provide you with a fresh, new pair every day.
Always follow your eye doctors recommendations for wearing and cleaning your contact lenses. Dont try to save a few pennies by topping off old contact lens cleaning solution with new.
The AOA also recommends replacing your contact lens storage case every three months, if not sooner. Try to keep it away from the toilet and let the case remain open and dry between cleanings.
Following good hygiene habits is important when wearing contacts.
Don’t Swim While Wearing Contact Lenses
Generally speaking, you should not go into the water with your contact lenses in as they require particularly good hygiene.
The water in swimming pools, rivers, lakes and oceans is home to an enormous amount of bacteria, viruses and microorganisms, many of which can be very harmful to the eyes. Even small amounts, like water splashes, can lead to infections.
If for any reason you need to swim with contact lenses, you should wear daily lenses along with waterproof goggles.
Daily disposable lenses give you the freedom to use contact lenses when swimming without having to clean or rinse them afterwards. All you have to do is put them in before swimming, wear waterproof goggles, and throw them away afterwards.
The best daily lenses for your holiday
Tip: In general, we recommend waiting about 30 minutes before you remove the lenses after swimming. In a damp environment contact lenses tend to stick to your eyes and make it more difficult to remove them. After about 30 minutes they dry up and it becomes much easier.
Also, take spectacles with you so that you can enjoy your vacation time calmly. We also recommend using eye drops to relieve irritated eyes.
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What You Need To Know About Wearing Contacts In Water
As the temperatures begin to rise, you think of fun ways you and your family can cool off and find some respite from the ever-present heat waveslike by camping, stargazing, or swimming at the local pool.
Swimming is a fun activity, one that not only helps you feel more comfortable in the heat but that also helps you exercise more frequently. But if you wear corrective lenses of any kind, swimming can be a bit more difficult for you than for people with perfect vision.
Specifically, if you wear contact lenses, you may wonder if you can swim with them in. Below, well tell you everything you need to know about swimming in contacts so you can still stay cool this summer while keeping your eyes healthy and your contact lenses in good condition.
If You Decide To Swim In Your Contacts Remember:
When contact lens wearers are near water, proper precautions must be taken to ensure their lenses do not come into contact with it. This guide should answer all your questions about contact lenses and water.
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What To Do If Lenses Get Wet
Health Canada recommends that you protect your lenses from exposure to any kind of water. This includes tap water, water in swimming pools, oceans, lakes, rivers, hot tubs and even showers.
Always use contact lens solution to clean your contacts and to disinfect and fill your storage case. Plus, make sure your hands are completely clean and dry before touching your eyes. Even in an emergency, such as removing your lens due to irritation, do not use water! Remove both lenses and wait until you can safely disinfect and reinsert them.
If your contact lenses get wet, take them out immediately. If you have reusable lenses, optometrists advise that you disinfect them overnight. But to be on the safe side, you can purchase new lenses. Consider using daily disposable lenses that you can discard as needed. Youâll also have a fresh sterilized pair to use while youâre on the go!
Why You Shouldnt Swim With Contacts On
Before we take a closer look at wearing contacts while scuba diving, its important to reiterate you should never wear your lenses when swimming. Indeed, you should never expose contact lenses to water, period.
There are many potentially blinding waterborne pathogens in both pool and freshwater that can easily attach themselves to contact lenses. Contact lenses also tend to absorb harsh chemicals like chlorine that can seriously irritate your eyes.
Of course, scuba diving is a bit different because the goggles provide such a great barrier between your eyes and the surrounding water. Still, the risk of contamination is there, so its best to work with a scuba diving instructor who could look out for your safety.
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Swimming With Contacts: Can You Wear Them
One of the most common questions optometrists receive regarding swimming with contacts is simple Can I wear contacts in the water? While the answer is technically yes. You can physically get into a swimming pool, a lake, or the ocean while you are wearing contact lenses, we recommended that you remove them before putting your head under water.
Can I Shower While Wearing Contact Lenses
Requiring less water than a bath, many contact lens wearers prefer a shower in order to clean themselves. If you wear contact lenses on a daily basis, you probably keep them in when stood underneath a shower. However, showering while wearing contact lenses is a serious no-no. Not only does this reduce the chance of infection developing but there won’t be any concerns regarding them falling out of place. As freshwater does contain bacteria, this can infect a contact lens but there is a low chance of this happening.
If you buy daily disposable contact lenses from Vision Direct, you might prefer to keep them in whilst showering. In this situation, avoid rubbing your eyes and keep them closed at all times. As there is only a small chance of an infection happening, you can keep them in your eyes but Vision Direct do recommend that your shower is only a couple of minutes long. Before having a shower, contact lenses can also be taken out and put into solution. They can then be put back into an eye afterwards.
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Can I Snorkel In Contact Lenses
Snorkelling with contact lenses is not recommended, your Optometrist will have advised against swimming in contact lenses and although with snorkelling your mask acts as a barrier there is still the risk of getting water leaking in and getting trapped under your contact lenses.A good fitting mask will offer a barrier against the water reaching your eyes and contact lenses so snorkelling should be fairly safe, however if you do get water in your mask and eyes, we recommend disposing of your lenses and replace with a fresh pair, this is why daily disposable lenses are great for diving, snorkelling and swimming. If you wear monthly disposable contact lenses it would be advisable to dispose of the lens or at least remove the lens clean and soak it before replacing.
Is It Safe To Wear Contact Lenses In The Pool
Q& A w/ Dr. Manny: Is it safe to wear contacts in the pool?
If you are one of the 30 million Americans who wear contact lenses, swimming this summer may come with an added risk.
We recently received this question from a viewer:
Dear Dr. Manny, Is it safe to wear contacts in the pool? Can I get an infection? Thanks, Rob
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommends not wearing contact lenses in any kind of water.
Because contact lenses are porous, they can absorb bacteria and chemicals found in the water, which can lead to infections, irritation and potentially sight-threatening conditions.
While pools do not harbor as many microorganisms as natural bodies of water like lakes and ponds, you still run the risk of getting an infection. Exposure to water can also cause your contact lenses to tighten around your eyes, and chlorine added to pools to help keep the water clean can actually be very irritating.
Daily disposable lenses are your best bet for swimming because they are designed to be thrown out after just one use. But you should consider wearing swimming goggles to protect your eyes from contaminants.
If you decide to take your chances and water enters your eye, you should remove and disinfect your contact lenses as soon as possible.
And if you experience any symptoms like lasting eye redness, irritation, pain, or sensitivity to light after wearing your contact lenses in water be sure to get immediate medical attention.
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What Happens If I Lose My Diving Mask
Another risk is getting your masked ‘kicked off’ or displaced during a dive. If you look around to find your mask, you can lose your lenses! Try to find your mask with one eye, keeping the other eye closed, at least then you only stand a chance of losing one lens and can complete the dive – better still get your buddy to find it!
Some Creatures Youll Never See Coming
Swimming-related eye infections are possible in anyone but contact lens wearers are at far greater risk than the rest of the population. The worst culprits for infections are bacteria, such as Pseudomonas aeruginosa and an amoeba known as Acanthamoeba. Both of these can cause very painful infections which result in sight loss or even losing an eye after months of unsuccessful treatment. A contact lens can trap one of these microscopic critters against the eye and contact lens wearers are also more likely to have a miniscule scratch on the eye, which is an open door for said critters to penetrate the eyes surface. Fortunately, these types of infections are rare but swimming in contact lenses does greatly increase this risk.
Doesnt the chlorine kill the bugs though? Not all of them: Acanthamoeba exists in two forms in its life cycle, the trophozoite form and the cystic form. The trophozoites are single-celled organisms which have that classic amoeba look: blobby brainless things which feed on other cells such as bacteria and cornea cells. The cysts are microscopic, dormant, double-walled capsules that can resist chemical disinfection and medical treatments like eye drops. High concentrations of chlorine do not kill the amoeba cysts. In fact the cysts can proliferate in the pools filter so the filter must be cleaned regularly by reversing the flow.
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Question : Can I Wear My Soft Monthly Contact Lenses When I Swim I Am Very Shortsighted And Cant See Otherwise
Water borne bacteria and other bugs such as the free living protozoa Acanthamoeba can attach to contact lenses when swimming and cause infection. This is particularly a problem in public pools where there can often be traces of urine and faecal matter. The safest option is to use goggles made with your prescription. These can be obtained from your optician. Tight fitting goggles over contact lenses can be problematic in that water often seeps in.
If contact lenses cannot be avoided while swimming, we recommend air tight swimming goggles with daily disposable lenses which are removed shortly after swimming and disposed of. It is common for contact lens wearers who reuse lenses to have a small supply of daily disposable lenses that can be used when swimming with air tight goggles or for general use on holiday.
Ask your optician as they will need to see if it is possible to fit you with daily disposable lenses that suit your eyes.
Is It Safe To Swim With Contacts
If you ask an eye doctor if swimming with contacts is safe, you will likely get a resounding No.
Water is a natural home for microorganisms and bacteria. This is true of water found in swimming pools, lakes, streams, oceans, hot tubs and even tap water. These microbes are around us at all times and the bodys defense systems will normally allow us to come in contact with them without suffering any ill effects. Having a contact lens on the eye, however, creates a breach in our bodys normal ability to defend itself.
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Can I Wear Contact Lenses For Sports
Wearing contact lenses is ideal if you play sports. When glasses are worn whilst participating in a sporting activity, they can cause injury. Whilst playing football, glasses can smash if you’re hit in the face. By wearing contact lenses, there won’t be any chance of such injury or damage happening.
Not only do wearing contact lenses whilst playing sport minimalize the likelihood of injury but you will also have a clear field of vision. Vision recommends that contact lenses are worn whilst participating in sport of any kind apart from water-based activities. When contact lenses are worn in windy conditions, they can be blown out of your eye although there is only a slight chance that this will happen. Either way, have a spare pair of contact lenses in your rucksack or kitbag.
Avoid All Types Of Water
You may think chlorinated swimming pool water and salty seawater are clean and germ-free. But thatâs not true at all! All types of water can irritate your eyes, whether itâs from a swimming pool, seawater or fresh water. Contact with chlorinated, salt and fresh water rinses away the eyesâ natural lubrication. Even those who donât wear contact lenses may find their eyes are dry and red after swimming.
All water is home to nasty bacteria, viruses and other microorganisms. The worst waterborne nasties are the bacteria Pseudomonas aeruginosa and the amoeba Acanthamoeba. Both of these rare pathogens can cause serious and painful infections. These infections can lead to blindness if left untreated. They often require sight-saving corneal transplants.
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What To Do If You Accidentally Swim With Contacts In
Hey, we all make mistakes from time to time. If you ever accidentally swim or shower with your contacts in, dont panic. Simply wash and dry your hands, take your contact lenses out, and throw them away.
Optometrists never recommend using contact lenses that have been exposed to water. Even if you douse your contacts with a ton of disinfectant solution, microorganisms like Acanthamoeba are extremely resilient. Its not unheard of for Acanthamoeba to live for days on your contact lenses even after youve rinsed your lenses with contact solution. It is better to be safe than sorry and discard your lenses and replace with a fresh pair.
If you experience sudden changes in your vision, eye redness, or eye pain, you should contact your Optometrist immediately. The faster you receive treatment for AK and other water-related infections, the higher the chance you have of recovering your vision.
Keep Contact Lenses Away From All Water
For contact lens wearers, it is best to remove lenses before showering, swimming, or using a hot tuband contact lenses should never be rinsed or stored in water 1, 2, 11, 12. It is also important to wash and dry hands well before handling lenses 13-15, and to clean contact lens cases with solution rather than water to avoid contaminating the lenses with germs found in water.
For those who are actively involved in swimming or other water sports and concerned about being able to see well enough without wearing lenses, prescription goggles may be a good optionor possibly even a different form of vision correction, such as laser eye surgery.
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How To Swim With Contact Lenses
When you’re an avid swimmer who wears contacts, getting in that quick dip becomes a bit more complicated. Because of the risk of eye infection, it’s best to take your contacts out before you get in the pool. However, if you choose to wear them, take some steps to ensure your eyes stay healthy and talk to your ophthalmologist about the proper safety and hygiene procedures.
Ask Your Eye Doctor About Guidelines For Contact Lens Care
Your optometrist is there to do more than simply prescribe new lenses for you.
Feel free to ask questions about guidelines for wearing contacts if you dont understand anything your eye doctor tells you. And if you should encounter any eye pain, whether you wear contacts or not, contact a medical professional immediately.
You only have two eyes. Take care of them.
Nothing in this article is to be construed as medical advice, nor is it intended to replace the recommendations of a medical professional. For specific questions, please see your eye care practitioner.
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