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Wearing Contacts When Swimming Is Risky

Some people swim while wearing contact lenses, risking serious damage to their vision.

Eye Irritation Isn’t Just Caused By Chlorine

While many of us associate swimming pools with the smell with chlorine, the real culprits are chemicals that form when chlorine mixes with sweat, dirt, and urine. This concoction–known as chloramine–is the real cause for eye irritation, and puts our eyes at risk for irritation and serious infection.

Contacts Are Breathable And Absorb

Soft contact lenses are absorbent and breathable to allow oxygen into the eye. They also absorb water—along with bacteria and chemicals in that water. A serious risk associated with contacts absorbing impure water is a sight-threatening condition called acanthamoeba keratitis. Although rare, it is caused by an organism found in all impure water sources including pools and lakes.

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Keep your eyes healthy and safe from harmful bacteria while you’re in the pool. To help avoid risk, here are a few tips to keep your eyes safe while you swim:

  • Remove your contacts before swimming. Removing contacts eliminates the risk factors explained above.
  • Wear protective goggles. If you must wear contacts, water-tight goggles can protect your eyes. Prescription goggles are also available.
  • Rinse your eyes. Swimmers should rinse their eyes immediately after swimming to remove chemicals or bacteria.
  • Exercise good pool hygiene. Shower before and after you swim, don’t urinate in the pool, and don’t swallow pool water.

Clean Contacts Preserve Good Vision

Our eyes are especially sensitive to bacterial infection, and the impurities in pools can leave your eyes feeling irritated, itchy, and even threaten long-term vision health. Our aim, as your lifelong vision partner, is to help you establish good habits that will keep your eyes healthy and comfortable!

Thanks for reading our blog posts, and for being our valued patient and friend! We look forward to the next time we see you.

Top image by Flickr user osseous used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.