Contact lenses and water are two things that shouldn’t mix. There are numerous benefits of wearing contacts daily, but it also means you need to be more aware of your eye health. Every contact lens wearer should know the extra steps it takes to wear contact regularly: take your contacts out before bed, don’t overwear them, and never wear them in water.  

No swimming with contact lenses

It might be counterintuitive but contact lenses don’t like regular water. Even filtered water retains some chemicals and bacteria that could cause issues with your contacts. That is the main reason to never wear them into the water. Your stomach is equipped to deal with these common microorganisms but your eyes, unfortunately, are not.  

Every time you go swimming or take a shower with your contacts, you run the risk of getting bacteria or pathogens stuck under your lenses. This is especially true for swimming in natural bodies of water like lakes and rivers. The water there is typically much more bacteria-rich and the likelihood of trapping something under your contact increases significantly.  

Even chlorinated water, like in pools and in water parks, is not completely safe. Yes, there may be less bacteria, however chlorine can pass through contacts just like water and cause irritation under your lens.  

Showering is much safer than swimming, but still isn’t recommended.  

Taking proper precautions

With all of that in mind, we understand that life is sometimes crazy and requires an impromptu swim. For example, you come across an especially enticing-looking river and didn’t bring a lens case. Or you’re out on your yacht and through the crystal-clear waters you spot a treasure chest. Are you going to stand there while your friends jump in? No. You’re going to jump in.  

We still recommend taking your contacts out before doing so, but if it’s the difference between claiming the treasure for yourself and coming away with nothing, here are some ways to prevent contact lens issues afterward: 

Wear goggles

The benefit of wearing contacts is that you don’t have anything over your eyes at all times which means it’s simple to put on a pair of goggles while you’re swimming. Doing this will reduce the likelihood of infection plus you’ll be able to see clearly underwater. Win-win.  

Clean your lenses

Immediately after swimming, take out your contacts and rinse them with solution. This will wash away any unwelcome visitors. We’d also recommend waiting before putting them back in. It’s best to wait overnight for your contacts to clean themselves in their solution, but at least wait a few minutes before putting them back in.  

Toss your daily lenses

If you wear daily lenses, then they need to be thrown away after your swim. Make sure to remove your contacts as soon as possible and dispose of them. We’d also recommend giving your eyes a rest before putting in a new pair.  

Rewetting drops are your friend

Using rewetting drops before and after a swim with contacts may help move bacteria out of your eye. Rewetting drops provide additional hydration to the surface of your eye allowing particles and pathogens to flow out more easily.   

Taking care of your eye health is a priority but doesn’t need to get in the way of a carefree, spontaneous life. Have fun and keep these tips in mind the next time you consider going for a swim. 

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