Taking the Plunge: Can You Swim with Contact Lenses?

Summer is still upon us, and the sparkling allure of swimming pools, lakes, and oceans beckons. But for those among us who don contact lenses, there’s a lingering question: “Is it safe to dive in with our lenses on?” We’ve had a multitude of customers pose this question, so let’s navigate these waters and get to the bottom of it.

The Raw Truth: Safety First

Straight up? Swimming with contact lenses isn’t recommended. Here’s why:

Water ≠ Sterile

Regardless of how pristine that pool or beach may seem, water bodies are chock-full of microorganisms. For those with contacts, the primary concern is, once again, our microscopic nemesis: Acanthamoeba. When this little bugger comes into contact with contact lenses, it can lead to Acanthamoeba keratitis – a severe, painful eye infection. And trust me, it’s not something you’d wish on your worst enemy.

Floating Hazards

Water can cause soft lenses to change shape, sometimes swelling or even sticking to the eye. This is not only uncomfortable but could also reshape your lens temporarily, affecting your vision.

Salt, Chlorine, and Contacts, Oh My!

Salt water can suck the moisture out of your lenses, making them tight and potentially painful. On the other hand, chlorine from swimming pools can wash away the beneficial tear layer from the contact, leading to irritation.

Okay, But What If I Really Want To?

If you’re adamant about swimming with contacts (because sometimes life just happens):

  1. Use Daily Lenses: Wear daily disposable lenses while swimming, then toss them out immediately afterward. This reduces the risk of long-term contamination.
  2. Goggles are Gold: Always, ALWAYS wear watertight goggles to shield your eyes. They’re not foolproof, but they offer a layer of protection.
  3. Rinse and Remove: After swimming, rinse your eyes with sterile saline solution and remove your contacts as soon as possible, giving your eyes a thorough cleanse.

Prevention is Key

If you’re planning a day at the beach or pool:

  1. Switch to Specs: If you know you’ll be tempted to jump in, wear glasses instead of contacts.
  2. Be Prepared: Carry a contact lens case and solution with you. This way, if the urge to swim strikes, you can safely store your contacts.

Final Dive

Can you swim with contact lenses? While physically possible, the risks attached make it a less-than-ideal choice. The brief convenience of seeing clearly underwater doesn’t balance out the potential complications. Always prioritize your eye health; it’s truly a sight worth preserving!

When in doubt, remember the age-old saying: “It’s better to be safe than sorry.” Dive safely and responsibly. 🌊🏊‍♂️