Wearing contact lenses while swimming should be avoided whenever possible as it leaves your eyes vulnerable to contamination by harmful bacteria present in the water, putting you at risk of eye irritation and infections.
Quick advice on swimming with lenses
- Avoid swimming in lenses as water may contaminate them and distort their shape.
- If you must wear lenses while swimming, wear daily disposables with waterproof swimming goggles.
- Consider prescription goggles to correct refractive errors and see clearly under water.
Learn more about daily contact lenses
Reasons to avoid contact lenses while swimming
Contact lenses require good hygiene. The water in swimming pools, rivers and oceans hosts an abundance of bacteria, viruses and microorganisms, many of which can be quite harmful for your eyes. Acanthamoeba for example, is an organism found in many water sites. When it comes in contact with your lenses, it attaches to them and can cause the surface of your eye to become inflamed and eventually infected.
Contact lenses will also naturally absorb any water around them, which could change their shape dramatically. This will make them uncomfortable to wear, often causing your vision to become distorted and blurry.
What to do if you must swim with lenses
If, for any reason, you must swim with contact lenses and you simply cannot avoid wearing them, consider wearing daily disposables along with waterproof swimming goggles. Because the water is host to a variety of potentially harmful microorganisms, dailies will give you the freedom to use contact lenses while swimming without needing to clean and rinse them afterwards. All you need to do is put them in before your swim and throw them out immediately after.
If at any time you feel discomfort with your contact lenses while swimming, be sure to remove and discard them immediately. It is also worth visiting your optician for any advice involving swimming in your lenses.
Alternatives to contact lenses while swimming
Ideal for regular swimmers, prescription swimming goggles are a fantastic investment that correct your vision while you swim.
They are custom made and work the same way eyeglasses do - by correcting specific refractive errors like myopia (shortsightedness), hyperopia (longsightedness) and presbyopia, according to your prescription. Because they seal off the water from coming into contact with your eyes, you will be able to see clearly underwater without the risk of contamination.
Some brands of prescription swimming goggles are even available as ready-made models, which come with the same prescription figures for both eyes. Before purchasing, we recommend that you check the goggles against the prescription you received from your optician to ensure that it matches exactly.