Swimming in contact lenses

It’s almost time for pool season in middle Tennessee and with comes a common question for eye doctors. Can you swim in contact lenses? The best answer to this question is NO. Pools contain a lot of chemicals and bacteria that may be soaked into the lens and cause eye problems. Some of these can be very serious. It is well documented that swimming in contacts puts you at risk for an infection from Acanthamoeba. This protozoan can be found in most water sources and can cause devastating vision loss, often requiring corneal transplant. In addition to these nasty bugs, pool water contains many harsh chemicals that may be soaked up by the contact lens and irritate the ocular surface.

If you must wear your contacts at the pool make sure goggles are used to keep the water out of your eyes. Daily disposable contact lenses are also a good idea. A lot of complications from swimming in contacts comes from things being soaked up into the lens. If you throw away the lenses and start with a fresh pair after swimming this problem can be avoided.

If you are curious about other summer activities with contact lenses, please feel free to contact us at our Belle Meade or Hendersonville offices, where we can give you answers about all your contact lens questions!