Can I swim with contact lenses in?

Summer days are here, and there’s nothing better than diving into a pool or the ocean to cool off. However, for contact lens wearers, swimming can be a bit more complicated. If you’re wondering whether it’s safe to swim with contact lenses, read on to learn more.

The risks of swimming with contact lenses

Swimming with contact lenses in can pose several risks to your eye health. Here are some of the most important ones:

  1. Infections: Water is not sterile, which means that it can harbor harmful bacteria and viruses that can cause eye infections. Contact lenses can trap these microorganisms against your eyes, increasing the risk of getting an infection, such as conjunctivitis or keratitis.
  2. Irritation: Chlorine, salt, and other chemicals found in pools, lakes, and seas can irritate your eyes, especially if you wear contact lenses. The lenses can absorb these substances and retain them, causing discomfort, redness, and dryness.
  3. Loss: Swimming can cause your contact lenses to dislodge from your eyes and get lost in the water. This not only impairs your vision, but it can also contribute to pollution and harm aquatic life.

How to protect your eyes while swimming

The best way to avoid the risks of swimming with contact lenses is to remove them before taking a dip. However, if you cannot or do not want to, there are some steps you can take to protect your eyes:

  • Use waterproof goggles: Goggles can shield your eyes from water, chemicals, and UV rays, providing a barrier of protection. Make sure to choose goggles that fit well, do not leak, and do not fog up.
  • Re-wet your lenses: If you decide to wear your contact lenses while swimming, be sure to re-wet them with saline solution or moisturizing drops to prevent them from drying out.
  • Rinse your eyes: After swimming, rinse your eyes thoroughly with clean, fresh water to remove any debris or contaminants that may have entered. Dry your face gently with a clean towel.
  • Disinfect your lenses: Once you’re out of the water, take out your contact lenses and disinfect them according to your eye care provider’s instructions. It’s important to avoid using tap water or saliva to clean your lenses, as these can introduce harmful microorganisms.

The bottom line

Swimming with contact lenses in can be risky, but it’s not necessarily forbidden. Ultimately, it depends on your personal preferences and situation. If you’re an avid swimmer, you may want to consider switching to prescription goggles or daily disposable contact lenses that you can discard after each use. If you’re going for a casual swim, make sure to weigh the benefits and drawbacks of wearing your contact lenses and take precautions to protect your eyes. Whatever you choose, don’t forget to have fun and enjoy the water!

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