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Swimming With Contact Lenses? The Dangers Might Surprise You

sitting by the pool

I’m sure many of you can answer yes to this question. Yikes! Jumping into a swimming pool with your contact lenses on can be risky. We know what you’re thinking, “what am I supposed to do, wear my glasses?” It can be frustrating as a contact lens wearer to enjoy a pool without being susceptible to dangerous microorganisms. We hear you! But it’s extremely important swimmers take precautions to protect their eyes.


What’s the big deal?

Dr. Sharma recommends patients to not wear their contact lenses while swimming. It’s just not worth the risk. What you can’t see could hurt you. Pools are filled with not only harmful bacteria, but chemicals that can penetrate contacts. Even worse is when these chemicals like chlorine mix with urine and bacteria. This can be an unsafe concoction for your eyes.

Microorganisms live in all water environments, and are generally not to be feared. But those who wear contacts do need to understand the associated risks. Sometimes these microorganisms can be absorbed by the contact lens, and get stuck in between the lens and eye. They can attach to the cornea even after a contact is removed, and lead to serious, irreversible eye damage. This is because general disinfectants may not be strong enough to clean away harmful microbes, leaving your eye exposed to infections and other serious eye conditions like acanthamoeba keratitis.



It’s not just pools…

We don’t mean to dampen your mood, but we care about your eyes! Contacts should never touch water. This means you should not wear your contacts in lakes, oceans, hot tubs, showers, etc, or even clean contacts with water. Why? The same harmful microbes can and usually are present in all water environments. This usually comes as a surprise to patients, but a very important point to remember. It could save your eyesight.



What can you do if you’re a regular swimmer?

If you cannot comfortably see without your contacts, and also swim regularly, we’d recommend that you invest in a pair of prescription goggles. These can be modified with UV protection, adding extra protection from sun damage.


If you have questions about how to care for your contacts, contact us. We have staff who are able to educate you through a ‘contact teach.’ We would love to help you care for your eyes.