Can You Wear Contact Lenses While Swimming? (Is It Safe?)

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Contact lenses are great for someone who has poor eyesight and doesn’t love glasses. Those who wear contact lenses regularly have a common question in mind. And that is, can you wear contacts while swimming?

Wearing lenses while swimming can be dangerous. The contact lenses are designed in such a way that they change their shape when in contact with water. While swimming with contacts, they might swell and stick to the cornea, causing severe eye injury.

Is It Safe Wearing Contact Lenses While swimming?

Contact lenses hate to get in contact with water. They might get shrunk or swelled in the water. So, you should always avoid water contact with your lenses. And while swimming, it is impossible to do so. That’s why it is best not to wear contacts without proper precautions.

Contact lens wearers often have a rough epithelium, or the surface of their eye is rough. That’s the major boundary to infection.

When you wear lenses while swimming, there is a chance that any bacteria or parasite can plunge into your eyes and cause infection. Most bacteria love a moist warm environment to flourish.

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And your eyes have the same condition that encourages bacteria to grow. That’s why eye doctors will always suggest putting off your lenses while diving into the water to avoid eye infections.

Swimming in the Pool Water

Swimming pools are the worst place to wear contacts as the water contains so many chemical components. The chlorinated pool is not among the cleanest, although they look fresh.

As different people use the pool, it is difficult to maintain overall hygiene, and the water can become infected with parasites and bacteria over time.

One of the common parasites that are found in the swimming pool is Acanthamoeba. This tiny parasite can cause serious eye problems if you do not take the necessary treatments.

Swimming in the Lakes

Wearing contacts in the lakes is also not suggested by any doctor. You can go by the lake wearing contacts but do not swim having them in your eyes. Any type of debris or micro-organisms can enter your eyes and cause infection.

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Swimming in the Ocean

Oceans contain saltwater in high concentrations. Saltwater usually drags out the water from the lenses and makes them shrink.

So, if you wear contact lenses in the ocean while swimming, your lenses will tighten up when contacting the ocean water, and it will irritate your eyes instantly. And the worst-case scenario is the contact lenses shrink too much to pull out. It can cause severe eye injury.

Swimming in the River

Where all contact lenses come with a disclaimer to avoid water contacts, there is no chance it will allow wearing them while swimming in the freshwater. Besides, the heavy current might cause irritation while swimming.

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Is There a Chance of Losing Your Lens Under Water?

If you wear contact lenses while doing any underwater activity, the risk of losing your contacts in the water is high. That’s why, even if you wear lenses, don’t forget to get some extra protection for your eyes.

What to Do If Your Contact Lenses Get Stuck in Your Eyes?

Usually, a contact lens gets stuck in the eyes when the lens dries out and gets swollen. You should follow some steps to remove that lens.

  • Sanitize your hands properly before putting your fingertips in your eyes
  • If the lens is stuck to your cornea, it might have dried out
  • Put in some rewetting drops for extra moisture and try to remove the lens
  • But if nothing works and you still feel discomfort, then consult an eye doctor and seek medical attention.

This is a risky situation for your eyes, so you should hurry to seek medical help as fast as possible. A delay may cause serious eye injury and can even lead to loss of eyesight.

Can You Swim With Bad Eyesight?

There is no obligation to swim with poor eyesight. If you dive into the water with bare eyes, everything might seem blurry. So, as long as you are swimming in your familiar territory, it is fine. But to avoid the danger, you should go for prescription goggles. It will give you clear vision, even underwater, and protect your eyes as well.

The Precaution of Wearing Contact Lens While Swimming in the Pool

The best thing would be not wearing contact lenses while swimming. But if you must wear them try with swimming goggles. It will provide a vacuum area in between water and your eyes.

Can Swimming Goggles Give You Excellent Protection?

For the best protection, you should always go with prescription swimming goggles. These types of goggles work the best for underwater activity. You will get a clear vision without any interruption.

Make sure to wear tight-fitting goggles to avoid any leaking. You can wear goggles with contact lenses in your eyes. Wearing goggles will protect your eyes along with the lenses.

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Can You Swim with Glasses?

You can get by the pool having glasses in your eyes but swimming along with them is difficult. We wear glasses for clear vision, and wearing glasses will be the exact opposite here in swimming.

It will interrupt your vision and irritate you often. Besides, there is a chance of losing the glass underwater. That’s why it is better to wear prescription goggles while swimming. Consult your eye doctor for custom-made prescription goggles that are suitable for your eyes.

Can You Wear Waterproof Contact Lenses While Swimming?

Most contact lenses have certain risk factors if it gets in contact with water. But there is some waterproof invention made especially for swimmers and scuba divers. These lenses work fine in swimming pools and didn’t declare to use in other water mediums yet.

So, we can hope that these waterproof lenses will have good progression, and we need not think twice while diving into the water wearing lenses.

Besides, you can use daily disposable lenses in the pool. Just remove them right after you finish your session. It reduces the risk of corneal ulcers and other eye infections as well.

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What Are Some of the Eye Problems You Can Get While Swimming with Contacts? 

When you swim with contact lenses in your eyes, they tend to pick up bacteria and parasites inside your eyes. And because of that, eye problems start. The risk factor may differ from person to person and depends on what type of lens you have put on. If you can detect the problem in an earlier phase, it will cause less trouble.

Earlier, we saw that Acanthamoeba is a common parasite that causes eye problems. The main problem it creates is called acanthamoeba keratitis. Keratitis means inflammation of the cornea. Keratitis can be caused for different reasons, but acanthamoeba is at the top of that list.

Besides, you can experience any infection caused by any micro-organism.

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Symptoms of Eye Problems

Your eyes will start showing symptoms immediately after catching any disease. Even if it is not a disease, we cannot ignore the simple irritation that occurs in our eyes.

Your brain gives you a signal when you feel any discomfort in the eyes. So, initially recognizing eye problems is not a difficult task to do. Let’s check some symptoms that might be caused by contact lenses while swimming.

  • Eye redness
  • Irritation in the eyes
  • You may feel pain in the eyes.
  • Teary eyes, even if you are not crying
  • Eye swelling
  • Vision blurred and foggy
  • Problems opening the eyes in the presence of light

If you experience any of these issues, consult your eye doctor without any delay. Ignorance may cost you permanent vision loss.

Alternative to Contact lenses

When your eyes get a number, there is no natural way to move back. You will need to wear glasses or contact lenses for the rest of your life for clear vision. 

There are some eye exercises, but those can improve only 15% of your eye issues. Modern science has been nothing but a blessing for eye treatment. Let’s see the alternatives to contact lenses. 

Laser Eye Surgery

Laser eye surgery refers to LASIK eye surgery. LASIK surgery is the only solution you have now if you want to stop wearing glasses or lenses. It works on hyperopia, myopia, and astigmatism. This surgery is a complicated process that should be done considering your age, eye power, and other factors. 

Patients can get perfect vision after LASIK eye surgery. This is a permanent treatment for those who have been suffering from losing their eye power. However, this therapy doesn’t necessarily remove further eye problems.

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Orthokeratology

There is another treatment called orthokeratology. This is a non-surgery process and corrects myopia, hyperopia, presbyopia, and astigmatism. It is most effective for childhood myopia. 

This solution to eye issues reduces the dependency on lenses and glasses. In this procedure, you will need to wear gas-permeable contact lenses while sleeping, which will reshape your cornea eventually.