More than 30 million Americans wear contact lenses and often take a dip in the pool while wearing them. Yet, the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) recommends against wearing contact lenses in any kind of water.
Contact lenses are porous so they can absorb bacteria and chemicals found in the water, which can lead to infections, irritation and other conditions. While most swimming pools do not harbor microorganisms, natural bodies of water like oceans, lakes and ponds can be especially problematic. Even in a backyard swimming pool, chlorine can be irritating and your contacts may actually tighten around your eyes. If you do swim with your contact lenses in your eyes, you should remove and disinfect them as soon as possible.
While pools do not harbor as many microorganisms as natural bodies of water like lakes and ponds, you still run the risk of getting an infection. Exposure to water can also cause your contact lenses to tighten around your eyes, and chlorine added to pools to help keep the water clean can actually be very irritating.
If you don’t have disposable lenses, here are a few tips to make swimming a little more comfortable and safe:
- Use swim goggles to keep your eyes safe and reduce your risk of an eye infection. Goggles, when worn properly, will prevent chlorine & harmful substances from getting into your contact lenses while you are in the pool.
- Daily disposable lenses are your best bet since they are designed to be thrown out after just one use. And, because soft disposable contact lenses have larger circumference they are less likely to be dislodged while you swim.
- Use sterile saline solution after swimming. Since there is a large possibility that your eyes will feel dry after swimming, saline solution will help create tears that will clean out any lingering chemicals or contaminants.
Everyone wants to see clearly when swimming and while it is understandable why people wear their contact lenses in the swimming pool, take these precautions to protect your eyes.