The Do’s and Don’ts of Swimming with Contact Lenses

Swimming with contact lenses

There’s no other activity that gives you that total-body workout as much as an hour of swimming does. From toddlers to seniors, it’s an activity enjoyed by all. The summers have already begun and everyone wants to cool off with a dip in the pool.

But have you wondered what the water is doing to your eyes? Swimming with contact lenses can potentially damage your eyesight. Your eyes may not only suffer bacterial contamination but in addition, you may experience irritation in the eye once you step out of the pool. Infections and sight-threatening conditions like a corneal ulcer may be a potential vision battle.

Eye Issues Due to Swimming:

Your eyes are safe as long as bacteria and irritants don’t get through the tear film that keeps the cornea lubricated. The moment chlorine and the tear film interact; your tear is exposed to the chemical in chlorine which carries a ton of pollutants.

Here’s a look at the two common eye conditions caused by chlorine exposure:

  1. Conjunctivitis
  2. Conjunctivitis is often known as Pink Eye and is a water-borne bacterial eye infection.

  3. Eye Irritation
  4. Eye irritation caused by chlorine results in redness and blurry vision, along with the damage of the tear film.

Swimming With Contact Lenses:

When you are swimming with contact lenses, the cornea in your eye suffers a setback in the form of an infection. Chlorine water should never touch your contact lenses. This is especially dangerous to your vision because your lenses may shrink and deprive it of the oxygen it needs. For certain contact lenses like the gas permeable (GP) ones, your ophthalmologist will strongly discourage you from wearing them while swimming. In case you forget to take them off while swimming, make sure you dispose them off immediately.

At InSight Vision Center, we recommend that you use daily disposable lenses if you are a regular swimmer.

We recommend you to take the following precautions if you are swimming with contact lenses:

  1. Wear Well-Fitted Goggles
  2. If you are swimming with contact lenses, your eyes will need that extra layer of protection. Well-fitted goggles are essential part of your swimming gear since pools contain a ton of chlorine. Your vision will not be compromised underwater. And vision problems like eye irritation and infection will not surface.

  3. Use Eye Drops
  4. If you experience even the slightest irritation after a swim, it suggests that your eyes need some lubrication. Put a few drops in each eye to restore the tear film on your eyes.

  5. Take off Your of Contact Lenses
  6. Taking your contact lenses off is your best bet. Chlorine can let bacteria enter your eye lens which can result in a more serious problem. If you absolutely insist on wearing them, get them cleaned with a solution immediately after a swim.

  7. Visit Your Eye Doctor
  8. In case the pain or irritation persists more than a day, it’s time for you to visit your eye doctor. Address the issues to your doctor and how long you have been suffering the irritation.

    Swimming is a fun way to exercise and stay fit. But the activity comes with some responsibility. Take all the necessary precautions before diving into the pool. Make sure you take your contact lenses off if you often experience eye irritation. Don’t ignore any signs that may bring discomfort to your eyes.

    Book an appointment with an experienced eye doctor in Fresno, CA if you have persisting eye irritation or if you need a fresh pair of contact lenses recommended to you.

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