So can you swim with contacts? Well if you’re one to abide by all the rules no matter what, then no. But let’s face it most of us aren’t, and we can (and do) swim with contact lenses. In fact we could probably do so for our whole life and experience any bad effects from it.

The Bad Stuff

Here’s the deal, contact lenses sit on the surface of your eye and due to the nature of most contacts, they can absorb water and therefore other nasty things too. It’s when this bad stuff gets into the lens, that your eye comes in contact with it and can get infected (not ideal)! It is recommended that contacts do not come in contact (no pun intended) with anything other than solution. This means that it isn’t a good idea to wash them in normal tap water because they could absorb some bad stuff from the non-sterile water too. It’s the same in the pool or any water you swim in. There might be bacteria that is harmful and can do damage if it gets into your eye. Not only can the water cause irritation and infection, but quite practically the contact lens may actually get washed out of your eye. Believe me, if this happens, the chances of you finding your contact lens again would be like searching for the letter ‘e’ in the novel Gadsby. [It’s a 50,000 word novel and none of them have the letter ‘e’ – written by Ernest Wright]

How to avoid this

If you’re one for common sense, you have probably already thought of a couple of ways that you can get around the problem at hand, but let me explain anyway. Goggles. Anybody who is into swimming for fitness (i.e. doing lengths of a pool) will have pair, so you’re not going to look out of place in the public pool. They’re a pretty effective option as their job is keep water away from the eyes. If you’re into snorkeling, the same logic applies. You’re wearing a mask anyway so water can’t get to you eyes. OK that’s all good if you’re into swimming for fitness or snorkeling. What about if you’re in the waves or in a pool? Wearing goggles probably isn’t going to cut it! The answer is obvious. Yeh, you know it – just close your eyes when you go under, it’s pretty simple!

The type of lens can help too

If you wear daily disposable lenses, just get rid of the lenses after you’ve been swimming. If any bacteria has been absorbed into the lenses, it’s no longer in contact with your eyes – it’s in the bin! If you’re not wearing daily disposables. take your lenses out pretty soon after you swim and give them a good clean in solution. Put some drops into your eye also to try and avoid infection.   If you’ve tried all these thing and your eyes still seem to get irritated, don’t swim with your contact lenses. With any luck you’ll still be able to see pretty well and you can rest assured your lenses aren’t gonna get washed out of your eye when you bomb in! Above all, use your common sense, it’ll give you a bit more freedom to do what you like and enjoy your swim time.



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