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  • Writer's pictureTim White

Dive In with Confidence: Swimming in Contact Lenses

Swimming is a refreshing and invigorating activity, offering a great way to stay fit and cool off during the hot summer months. However, for those who rely on contact lenses for clear vision, the thought of swimming with them can be a cause for concern.

Understanding the Risks

While swimming in contact lenses may seem convenient, it's important to be aware of the potential risks involved. Water, whether it is in a pool, lake, or the ocean, can introduce a range of harmful microorganisms and chemicals that can cause discomfort and even serious eye infections. The most common risk associated with swimming in contacts is the presence of waterborne bacteria, viruses, and parasites that can adhere to the lenses and come into contact with your eyes.

Precautions to Take

  1. Wear Waterproof Goggles: The best way to protect your eyes while swimming is to wear airtight goggles designed for water activities. These goggles will create a barrier between your eyes and the water, preventing any harmful substances from coming into contact with your lenses.

  2. Use Daily Disposable Lenses: If you still choose to swim with contact lenses, opt for daily disposable lenses. These lenses are worn once and then discarded, reducing the risk of contamination from waterborne pathogens. Remember to remove and replace them immediately after swimming to minimize the chances of infection.

  3. Avoid Wearing Lenses for Prolonged Periods: Regardless of whether you swim or not, it is essential to follow the recommended wearing schedule for your contact lenses. Extended wear can lead to dryness, irritation, and an increased risk of infection. Always consult your eye care professional for guidance on proper lens usage.

  4. Follow Good Hygiene Practices: Before handling your lenses, make sure to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water. Avoid touching your lenses with wet hands, as it may introduce water-borne contaminants onto the surface. Additionally, clean and store your lenses as per the instructions provided by your eye care professional.

Alternatives to Contact Lenses

If you frequently engage in water activities or swimming and are concerned about the risks associated with wearing contact lenses, there are alternatives that can provide clear vision without compromising eye safety:

  1. Prescription Swim Goggles: These goggles are custom-made to match your prescription needs, allowing you to enjoy crystal-clear vision while swimming. They provide both eye protection and vision correction, making them an excellent choice for water enthusiasts.

  2. Prescription Sports Masks: Another option gaining popularity is prescription sports masks. These masks combine the functionality of goggles with the convenience of a mask, offering both eye and face protection along with vision correction.

Swimming is an enjoyable and refreshing activity, but it's essential to prioritize the safety and health of your eyes when it comes to wearing contact lenses in the water. While it's generally not recommended to swim in contact lenses, taking the necessary precautions and considering alternatives like prescription swim goggles or sports masks can provide a safer and more comfortable swimming experience.

Remember, consulting with your eye care professional is crucial before making any decisions regarding your contact lens usage, as they can provide personalized advice based on your specific needs. By being informed and taking the right precautions, you can make the most of your swimming experience while keeping your eyes healthy and happy.

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