Summer is coming, lots of guys loves swimming, beaches, sunshine... And many customers ask us if it’s okay to take the plunge with you’re lenses in. Maybe you wear them just for the style update, colored contact lenses, and maybe you wear them so you can see more than a foot in front of you. Either way, you love to wear lens and you want to look amazing on the beach or by the pool. We understand.
Unfortunately, swimming with contacts can be very dangerous to your eyes. And somebody says, what about on the beach? Or bath? How about if it’s not salt water? If you ask any eye doctor, you’ll get the same answer. NO!
We know it’s tempting. But, our No. 1 goal and focus is on your health and safety. Sorry! The FDA recommends that contact lenses should not be exposed to any kind of water, including tap water and water in swimming pools, oceans, lakes, hot tubs and showers.
Swimming whilst wearing contact lenses might seem like a great idea but it can cause a number of problems. When contact lenses are worn whilst swimming in a pool or the ocean, water can splash in your eyes. If this happens, contact lenses can be dislodged and eyesight becomes blurry again. This situation is very unsettling, largely because you might believe that contact lenses have fallen behind the back of your eye. However, this is impossible because contact lenses aren't able to.
When swimming whilst wearing contact lenses, infection can happen to a cornea. If water splashes into your eye, permanent damage can be caused. Even when a small amount of water gets near your eye, lenses can start to tighten and starve it of oxygen. Attention please. Rigid gas permeable (GP) contact lenses should never be worn while swimming, as they are more likely to dislodge from your eye. While soft contact lenses are more likely to remain on your eye when swimming, they are porous and can absorb chemicals and bacteria, increasing the risk of eye irritation and infection. Even when contact lenses are worn whilst swimming, they must be thrown away after, that's why we recommend daily disposable lenses if you wish to swim with contact lenses in. Whenever you do wear contact lenses while swimming, we recommend wearing tight fitting goggles to avoid getting water in your eyes.
No matter which kind of water, even in the brightest blue Caribbean waters, it is the most comfy and enjoyable natural home for a wide variety of microorganisms and bacteria. Whether it’s a swimming pool, lake, stream, ocean, hot tub, or plain ol’ tap water.
We aren’t trying to gross you out. You come into contact with these microbes all day every day and your body has defense mechanisms which keep you healthy and safe. Unfortunately, as safe and comfortable as our colored contact lenses are, they are not entirely natural. And that means they interfere with your body’s natural defense mechanisms.
Think of them as tiny sponges that can absorb liquids. That’s purposeful for the sake of comfort and wearability. We want our colored contact lenses to absorb enough liquids to keep them moving correctly and keep our eyes from drying out. With the help of natural tears and in some cases drops, contact lenses retain their flexibility. However, water that is absorbed into your contact lens is trapped against the eye. Microbes in that water can then attack the surface of the eye.
Normally, when water touches your eye’s surface, your nervous system signals a response and you blink, pushing those bacteria and microorganisms away, and tears help to flush them out. But, when you’re wearing a contact lens, those microbes are able to hide underneath and avoid being naturally blinked and washed away.
Proper contact lens care reduces further the chance of contamination. Remember to replace your contact lens case at least every three months and always follow your eye doctor's recommendations.
So, maybe you escape the microorganisms and bacteria found in tap water in your shower, chlorinated water, and at the beach. There are other very valid reasons to avoid wearing your contact lenses to swim or shower.
Water causes contact lenses to swell, making them less comfortable on the eye. Water can also wash away your natural tear film, which is lubricating and helps keep your eyes feeling so dry.
Chemicals in swimming pools can cause the tissue of your eye to become read, swollen, and inflamed. Salt in ocean water can irritated the surface of your eye. And there is also the risk of losing your contact lenses while swimming or showering.
If water gets in your eyes when swimming, you should remove, clean and disinfect your contact lenses as soon as possible to reduce your risk of eye irritation and infection.
What If I Want to Do it Anyway?
We strongly suggest you completely refrain from wearing contact lenses of any kind when swimming. If you are determined to do it anyway, and willing to take the risk, we highly recommend you wear a daily disposable and throw them away immediately after swimming.
To be safe, it's a good idea to discard daily disposable lenses immediately after swimming, rinse your eyes with reweting drops or artificial tears approved for use with contact lenses, and then replace the lenses with a fresh pair of daily disposables.
If you use daily disposables for occasional wear, they offer good value for money when comparing the cost of contact lenses.
If you experience negative effects after swimming in your contact lenses, such as redness, pain, irritation, light sensitivity, unusual discharge, or blurred vision, throw the lenses away immediately.
If these symptoms last more than a few hours, get in touch with your eye doctor right away. And own up to swimming in your contact lenses, so they know how to offer support.
If you are serious about swimming, and concerned about your vision in the pool, you have a couple of options.
You could pair those disposable lenses we discussed with a good pair of goggles to reduce your risk for exposure. (And still throw out your contact lenses afterward).
Swimming goggles can help contact lens wearers to protect their eyes. We recommend that a tight fitting pair of goggles is worn to stop fresh water in a swimming pool or salt water from touching contact lenses.
Hitting the beach or the pool can be a fun way to beat the heat this summer. With a little precaution, you can keep your eyes healthy. Now, go forth and enjoy the water - and keep those gorgeous eyes safe!