Ask an Eye Doc: Is it Safe to Go Swimming in Contacts?

Ask an Eye Doc: Is it Safe to Go Swimming in Contacts?


– Brandon asks, “I recently went swimming “and forgot to take out my contacts. “Is that bad?” Brandon, it’s definitely a bad idea to swim in your contact lenses,
and let me tell you why. The FDA recommends contact lenses not be exposed to any water. That includes the kind you drink and the kind you swim in. Lakes, pools, hot tubs, showers, all of that water contains microorganisms, bacteria, and chemicals that can be harmful to your ocular health when exposed to contact lenses. Our primary concern is a microorganism called acanthamoeba, which can
attach to your contact lenses and cause a serious corneal infection. This corneal infection,
called acanthamoeba keratitis, can result in needing
a corneal transplant, or even permanent vision loss. Your best bet is to avoid
wearing contact lenses while swimming. In some cases, swimming in
contact lenses is unavoidable. In those rare case, I
recommend using swim goggles and a daily disposable contact lens that can be thrown away after use. There are also non-surgical options, like orthokeratology,
that can remove the need for you to wear contact
lenses in the water. The safest way to go is to
consult with your optometrist and see which option is best for you. Thank you so much for
your question, Brandon, and if any of you guys
have eye-related questions, don’t forget to use the
hashtag #AskAnEyeDoc.

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