Swimming in your contact lenses should generally be avoided. This is because there are contaminants in the water that could put at you at risk of developing an eye infection. It is possible to swim while wearing contact lenses so long as you are careful about keeping the water in swimming pools away from your eyes. We go into detail about the ways you can safely wear contacts while swimming.
If you decide to swim in your contacts, remember:
- If you decide to swim with contacts, wear daily disposable contact lenses along with waterproof swimming goggles.
- Don’t swim in lenses if you can avoid it. Water could transfer bacteria which can change the shape of the lens and create infection
- If you swim regularly (or just don't want to wear lenses), wear prescription swimming goggles so you can see more clearly in the water.
When contact lens wearers are near water, proper precautions must be taken to ensure their lenses do not come into contact with it. This guide should answer all your questions about contact lenses and water.
Can you swim with contacts?
Although you can swim with contacts in, it should be avoided if possible. This is because even a small amount of water in your eye while wearing contacts is a risk for your cornea to become infected. Water contains microorganisms that can cause get stuck under the contact lens and cause keratitis (or corneal ulcer) which is an inflammation of the cornea. symptoms from water contamination can range from mild discomfort to permanent vision loss.
If you decide to wear contacts while swimming, wear daily disposable lenses and waterproof goggles. Be sure to discard your lenses after your swim. If you wear two-weekly contact lenses or monthly contact lenses, clean your lenses in disinfecting solution after your swim before putting them back in.
If you swim regularly, prescription goggles will correct your sight allowing you to swim without the need of contact lenses. Wearing goggles without lenses will also remove the risk of contamination from the pool water.
Will contacts fall out while swimming?
Yes, it’s very likely that your contacts will fall out if you open your eyes underwater for more than a few seconds. For this reason, it’s important to wear waterproof goggles while swimming to protect your eyes. If your vision is severely impaired, prescription goggles will help you to see better while you are swimming.
Can you cry with contacts in?
Yes, you can cry with contact lenses in. Your vision may go a little blurry due to all the extra tears, but don’t be alarmed. If you cry, your contacts may move around the eye a bit and potentially get stuck to the inner eyelid, they can usually be easily moved back into place. Don’t rub your eyes or wipe the tears away too rigorously, or the lenses might dislodge from your eye. If possible, remove your lenses after crying and clean them with contact lens solution before putting them back in.
Can you shower with contacts in?
You shouldn’t shower while wearing contacts. Water contains bacteria that can get trapped beneath the lens and significantly increase your risk of eye infections. If you find yourself in the shower having forgotten to remove your lenses then close your eyes, carefully step out of the shower and remove your lenses for the duration of the shower. Your contact lenses can be stored with solution in a contact lens case.
In conclusion, all kinds of water are bad for contact lenses and should be avoided to reduce the risk of infection. This includes tap water, fresh water, distilled water, shower water, as well as water from lakes, swimming pools and hot tubs. If your eyes have come into contact with water while wearing your lenses and you feel any discomfort, remove your lenses, clean them and make sure your visit your eye doctor for an eye test.