Swimming is an outstanding form of exercise and a wonderful way to relax. Unfortunately, there’s a prevalent misconception among people who wear contact lenses in Cape Cod that it’s fine to skip the goggles when going for a swim. This could not be further from the truth. In short, you have to wear protective eyewear when using contact lenses and swimming.
Why You Need Goggles to Go Swimming When Wearing Contact Lenses
Contact lenses do not protect your eyes from the water in a pool, the ocean or even your own shower or bathtub. Water carries numerous unknown viruses and microbes. You never know what microscopic entity might end up in your eye if you swim without goggles.
Furthermore, water washes the natural tears out of your eyes. This is how your contact lenses stay lubricated when you are wearing them. When your eyes are open underwater while you’re swimming with contact lenses in, all of that natural lubricant is cleared out and replaced with unclean water that is unsafe for your eyes.
Also, the rush of water against your face when you are swimming or diving can rinse your lenses right out of your eyes. If you’ve ever tried looking for a contact lens at the bottom of a pool, you know it’s a wasted effort! Goggles are your best friend if you love swimming and wear contact lenses.
What Happens When You Wear Contact Lenses Without Swimming Goggles
It’s really a toss of the coin. Of course, you might not experience an issue. Then again, you could contract Acanthamoeba keratitis, a condition that occurs when a microorganism attaches itself to your contact lenses and infects or inflames the cornea. Depending on the severity, Acanthamoeba keratitis could cause long-term, permanent vision loss that may require a corneal transplant.
Other issues that arise from not wearing goggles with contact lenses while swimming include a number of infections, irritations and corneal ulcer. Additionally, freshwater or pool water will result in soft lenses tightening while on your eyes, leading to quite a bit of discomfort and pain. Doesn’t all of that just make it sound easier and less painful to put on a pair of goggles when you dive into the pool?
What About Daily Disposable Contact Lenses?
No ophthalmologist is going to give you the okay to swim with contact lenses in your eyes and no goggles. This is particularly true for those who wear gas permeable (GP) and soft contact lenses. If water—whether it’s from the pool, ocean or tap—gets into your eyes while wearing lenses, you need to wash and dry your hands thoroughly and then disinfect your lenses. If you use daily disposable contact lenses and you’re in a bind (such as forgetting your goggles at home), it’s fine to go swimming. However, be sure to dispose of those lenses as soon as possible and rinse your eyes completely after getting out of the water using artificial tears or rewetting drops.
Need new contact lenses in Cape Cod? Call Bayview Optometrics today to schedule an appointment with an optometrist. Our team is also available to discuss any issues you are experiencing with your lenses.