Can I shower while wearing contact lenses?

A woman putting in contact lenses after showering

Opting for contact lenses over glasses means that you'll experience improved levels of comfort, complete freedom of movement and the ability to do more activities with ease. However, when it comes to anything involving water, particularly showering while wearing your contact lenses, it's really inadvisable. To understand more about why shower water and lenses don't mix, our in-house eye care professionals have covered everything you need to know to reduce your risk of infection.

What are the risks of showering with contact lenses?

In theory, it might seem like a good idea to keep your lenses in while you shower. They'll help you to see which products you're using, if you're shaving correctly and where your towel is once you get out. But in practice, showering, like swimming with your contact lenses, is a serious no-no. This all boils down to the fact that water, regardless of where it's from, can make your eyes more vulnerable to contamination by harmful bacteria. This bacteria that can be found in tap water (even in the showerhead or on sponges), a swimming pool, the sea or a hot tub, increases the risk of nasty eye infections and eye irritations.

As your lenses also absorb water very quickly, the longer they come into contact with your lenses, the higher the risk that they'll trap microorganisms in your eye. The most dangerous of these microorganisms is called Acanthamoeba, which can result in the rare but serious eye infection, Acanthamoeba keratitis. This infection must be treated immediately, or it can lead to inflammation of the cornea, or in severe cases, is a risk factor for vision loss.

Plus, soft contact lenses are incredibly porous, absorbing water at a quicker rate. A wet contact lens will change shape, becoming uncomfortable to wear and causing blurry vision. For this reason, it's better to avoid swimming in any water sources with contact lenses, unless, they're paired with water-tight goggles to avoid leakages or damage.

Showering with your contact lenses can increase your risk of several eye issues, including:

  • Eye conditions
  • Eye infections
  • Dry eyes
  • Corneal ulcers
  • Corneal abrasions or scratches

What to do if you showered with contact lenses?

A woman washing her hair in the shower

Mistakes happen and if you do take a shower with your lenses in, it's important not to panic and follow these simple steps:

  1. Step out of the shower, dry your hands and remove your lenses straight away to prevent bacteria from getting trapped in your eyes.
  2. Wearers of daily contact lenses can dispose of their lenses on the spot, whereas, wearers of two-weekly contact lenses or monthly contacts lenses must determine if their lenses are damaged. If the lenses are damaged, they must be thrown away, and if not, they need to be sterilised in contact lens solution before they’re reapplied.
  3. In the case that redness or soreness persists, reach out to your optometrist and seek professional medical advice. It’s best to also give your eyes a break, apply some eye drops and switch to your glasses for a bit.

More symptoms that might indicate an eye infection for contact lens wearers include:

  • Eye discharge
  • Swelling
  • Teary eyes
  • Itchy eyes
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Blurry vision
  • Feeling like there’s something stuck in your eye

Switch to daily contact lenses

Daily disposable contact lenses are undoubtedly the most hassle-free and hygienic wearing pattern, especially when it comes to daily activities, like showering. Before you shower, you can take them out and throw them away, and after you’re dry and refreshed, you can put in a fresh, new set. Easy, right? Plus, many of them are made from an incredibly breathable material, silicone hydrogel, so you can enjoy a more comfortable wearing experience, too.

A box of everclear ELITE contact lenses and eye drops on a sink

Try everclear ELITE

Exclusive to Vision Direct, everclear ELITE contact lenses are extremely comfortable, with an ultra-hydrating formula, locking in moisture before and after you shower. These daily disposable contacts, made from a majorly breathable silicone hydrogel material, can be thrown away and replaced with a new pair in the bathroom and beyond. Plus, UV blocking offers an extra layer of defence against harmful sun rays.

Discover everclear ELITE

Top contact lens tips

  • Never shower with lenses and keep them away from water at all times.
  • Never go swimming with lenses unless you’re wearing water-tight goggles.
  • Dispose of lenses that have become damaged, wet or exposed to water.
  • Make sure to store two-weekly or monthly lenses in a multi-purpose solution overnight for regular disinfecting.
  • If you run out of solution, never store your lenses in water or try to make your own.
  • Replace your contact lens case every 3 months to prevent a build-up of harmful bacteria and germs.
  • Avoid sleeping with contact lenses, unless your optician has advised otherwise.
  • Wash your hands with clean water and a lint-free towel before applying and removing your lenses - Vision Direct Soap Sheets are perfect for wearers on the go wanting to keep up their contact lens hygiene.
  • Stick to the wearing pattern and eye care routine that your optician has recommended.
  • Read and follow product instructions, particularly if you opt for a longer wearing pattern.
  • Go for UV contact lenses, paired with sunglasses to protect your eyes from harmful rays throughout the year.
  • Choose protective goggles when you’re swimming, skiing, or playing extreme sports.
  • If your lenses become painful and uncomfortable, remove them, give your eyes a break and reach out to your eye doctor or a healthcare professional for any contact lens-related advice.
  • Have an eye test every 2 years to monitor your eye health and ensure your contact lens prescription is up to date.