Swimming with contact lenses should be avoided as much as possible to minimize bacterial infection of the eyes. Infections, discomfort, and potentially sight-threatening problems such as a corneal ulcer can all occur when swimming with contacts.
According to the FDA, contact lenses should not be exposed to water, including tap water and water from swimming pools, oceans, lakes, hot tubs, and showers.
Numerous viruses and deadly microorganisms can live in water. The Acanthamoeba bacterium, which may cling to contact lenses and infect and inflame the cornea, is one of the most dangerous. If not treated early enough, Acanthamoeba keratitis, a disorder associated with using contact lenses while swimming, can result in permanent vision loss or necessitate a corneal transplant to restore lost vision.
If you catch water in your eyes while swimming, remove, clean, and disinfect your contact lenses as soon as possible to avoid irritation and infection.
Contamination is further reduced with proper contact lens care. Replace your contact lens case every three months at the very least, and always follow your eye doctor’s advice.
Swimming should never be done with rigid gas permeable (GP) contact lenses, as they are more prone to fall out of your eye. Soft contact lenses are more likely to stay on your eye when swimming because they are porous and can collect chemicals and bacteria, increasing the risk of eye discomfort and infection.
When exposed to freshwater or water from swimming pools, soft lenses can also tighten on your eyes, causing substantial irritation.
When you get water in your eyes when swimming, it removes the natural tears that lubricate your eyes and might aggravate existing eye disorders, including chronic dry eyes.
If you do decide to swim with contact lenses, the most secure option is daily disposable lenses. They are designed to be worn once and then discarded, obviating the need to clean and sanitize them.
To be safe, remove daily disposable lenses after swimming, clean your eyes with rewetting drops or artificial tears approved for contact lenses, and then replace the lenses with a new set of daily disposables.
Compared to the expense of contact lenses, daily disposables offer good value for money when used for infrequent wear.
Call your eye doctor right once if you develop extended eye irritation or sensitivity to light after wearing your contact lenses in water.
Is It Possible to Swim With Contact Lenses and Goggles on?
Wearing waterproof swim goggles while swimming while wearing contact lenses is the greatest strategy to limit your risk of eye irritation and infection.
Swim goggles not only protect your eyes from watery toxins but also lessen the chance of your contacts dislodging. Another good alternative is prescription swimming goggles. Prescription goggles, like eyeglasses or contact lenses, are custom-made to correct your refractive defect, allowing you to see properly underwater without the hazards associated with swimming with contacts.
Swim goggles are also available in prescription versions from some brands. While they may be a viable solution for you or your children, they are not without their disadvantages. For instance, they do not cure astigmatism. They are only available in the most common prescription powers, and both lenses have the same prescription, despite the fact that many people’s eyes do not. Wearing swim goggles has the extra benefit of allowing you to choose UV-protective goggles to shield your eyes from the sun.
LASIK and Other Alternatives to LASIK
Many people, particularly those who lead an active, sporty lifestyle, opt for LASIK laser eye surgery to correct their myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), or astigmatism and eliminate the need for glasses or contact lenses.
LASIK and other types of refractive surgery, such as PRK and LASEK, use a computer-controlled laser beam to reshape the cornea, allowing light to be focused properly onto the retina for clear vision. The safety profile of LASIK surgery is excellent, and most people acquire 20/20 or greater vision without the use of glasses or contact lenses after the treatment. The risks and effects of LASIK, like any other operation, should be thoroughly evaluated before undergoing the process.
Orthokeratology, or ortho-k, is another option. It is a non-surgical technique to correct your refractive error and lessen your reliance on eyeglasses or contact lenses. Ortho-k employs custom-made and fitted contact lenses to reshape your cornea, allowing you to see perfectly even after the lenses are removed. The lenses are often worn at night while sleeping, eliminating the need for glasses or contacts while awake.
Your eye doctor or a sports vision specialist can help you choose the ideal eyewear for swimming and other activities you like.