With the warm summer days come many opportunities to swim. To better enjoy your time in the water, you may be tempted to wear your contact lenses. As much as we don’t want to spoil the fun, we want to emphasize that swimming with contact lenses is a huge no-no. Your eye doctor explains why.
Why You Must Not Swim With Contact Lenses
Water–whether fresh, salty or tap–contains lots of impurities. It is home to countless microbes that can cause eye irritations and infections, one of the most serious of which is the acanthamoeba organism. It attaches to your contact lenses, causing the cornea or the clear dome-shaped structure that covers your eyes, to become inflamed or infected. This condition, referred to as Acanthamoeba keratitis, can even lead to permanent blindness. You might need to undergo corneal transplant to regain vision.
Swimming pool water’s no better as well. You might think that just because pools use chlorinated or treated water, they can kill microorganisms. But that’s not always the case. In fact, your optometrist explains that chlorinated water washes away your eyes’ natural lubrication. As a result, your eyes become dry and irritated easily.
In addition, rigid gas-permeable contact lenses can get easily dislodged while you’re underwater. This makes it easy for impurities to get inside your eyes. Soft contact lenses, on the other hand, are often porous. They easily absorb chemicals and bacteria, increasing your risk of developing eye irritations and infections.
While wearing contact lenses in the water is definitely off the table, there are alternatives you can use. For one, you can wear prescription swimming goggles. Just like your prescription eyeglasses, the lenses are engineered with your specific lens power so you can see clearly while in the water.
Another option is to use ortho-k lenses. These are worn while sleeping, and while you’re getting that much needed Z’s, the ortho-k lenses are reshaping your impaired cornea. Upon waking up, you can remove them and instantly experience sharper vision. Their effects usually last a whole day long.
Lastly, you can also undergo LASIK and other refractive surgeries. They offer a relatively permanent way to correct your visual impairment, reducing your need to use corrective eyewear. This way, you can swim all you want without having to worry about not seeing well underwater.
Call us at (717) 609-4443 or complete our form to schedule an appointment and learn more alternatives to contact lenses when swimming. We serve Chambersburg and nearby PA areas.