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Is Swimming Safe with Contacts?

For many people, the arrival of summer means lazy days spent in the swimming pool. If you wear contact lenses though, your time in the pool could potentially be lessened to protect your eyes. Before heading to the pool, here is what you need to know if you wear contacts and plan to swim this summer.

Is Swimming Harmful When Wearing Contacts?

One of the warnings you probably got from your eye doctor was never to use water on your contacts. Water can contain microbes and viruses that can possibly attach to your contacts and expose your eyes to infection. An eye condition, such as Acanthamoeba keratitis, can develop and lead to serious vision problems, including the possibility of permanent vision loss. 

If you wear rigid gas permeable contacts, there is an additional threat that the lenses can be washed out of your eyes while swimming. This can result in eye irritation. Swimming in your contacts can also rinse away your eyes' natural lubricant, which can lead to dry eyes. 

Even though there are a lot of risks associated with swimming with your contacts, it is still possible to enjoy the pool and maintain your sight. 

What Can You Do?

One of the best ways to protect your eyes is to switch to daily lenses. After you swim, simply toss the contacts and put on a fresh pair. If there is any harmful bacteria attached to the contacts, it will be removed when you take out the contacts. 

Another option is to wear swim goggles. The contacts work to keep your eyes safe from viruses and microbes and prevents the lubrication from washing away. If you want to go a step further, you can get a pair of prescription strength swim goggles. Even though there are prescription strength goggles available in ready-made version, it is important to obtain a custom pair. Ready-made goggles usually have the same prescription in both eyes and you most likely do not. 

You also have the option of going one further step and getting LASIK eye surgery. The surgery would correct your vision permanently. Your doctor can evaluate you and determine if this is a viable option for you. 

Swimming is a great way to keep cool during the summer months, but you do not want to risk your eyesight for it. Your eye doctor can help you take the steps needed to ensure that a summer of fun does not turn into regret.