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Pool Safety & Contact Lenses

Summertime is the perfect time to get outside and enjoy the warm weather. What better way to cool down than taking a swim? If you wear contacts, though, there are a few things you need to know before hitting the pool. Here are some dos and don'ts of swimming with contacts.

The Risks of Swimming with Contacts 

If you wear contact lenses, you may believe you need them to see well while swimming. While this may be true for avoiding bumping into things, getting your contacts in contact with water can raise your risk of developing eye issues. Prolonged exposure to water can absorb bacteria, viruses, or other pathogens. Your contact lenses are made of a porous, soft plastic, which is the perfect spot for pathogens to adhere to. Contact lenses also press the bacteria against your eyes, creating an ideal situation to develop an eye infection.

Here are some eye issues you could develop if you swim in contact lenses:

  • Corneal ulcers
  • Eye irritation
  • Dry eye
  • Eye infections
  • Corneal abrasion
  • Eye inflammation

    Contacts Safety Tips

    Due to the risks involved with swimming in contact lenses, it's recommended to remove them before swimming. If you cannot swim without your contacts, here are some precautions to reduce your risk of getting an eye infection.

    • Wear goggles – Goggles can protect your eyes from water. If you swim often, consider getting a pair of prescription goggles to avoid wearing contact lenses.
    • Remove your contacts after swimming – Rinse your eyes with clean water, then wear your glasses or put in a fresh pair of contact lenses.
    • Disinfect your lenses – After swimming in contact lenses, you should remove them immediately and disinfect them in a contact lens solution for 24 hours.
    • Use daily contact lenses – Wear daily contacts and throw them away after you are done swimming.
    • Use artificial tears – use artificial tears before and after you swim to prevent dry eye.

      Symptoms of an Eye Infection

      Swimming in contacts increases the likelihood of getting an eye infection. Here are some symptoms of eye infection you should look for if your contacts have been exposed to water.

      • Red Eyes
      • Eye pain
      • Itchy eyes
      • Excessively watery or teary eyes
      • Blurry vision
      • Eye discharge
      • Swelling
      • Light sensitivity
      • Feeling like something is in your eye

        If you are experiencing any of these symptoms after swimming, be sure to call our office immediately. Our doctors will look into your eye condition and offer treatment solutions.


        While contact lenses may give you the ability to see better when swimming, it’s important to be aware of the risks associated with getting them wet. By following these tips and precautions, you can minimize your risk of developing an eye infection while enjoying a day at the pool or beach. If you have any further questions about wearing contacts in water, don’t hesitate to call our office and schedule an appointment today. We would be happy to answer any of your questions and help keep your eyes healthy!