Swimming and Contact Lenses

It’s summertime and the weather has been scorching hot. It’s the perfect time to head down to the shore, go to a water park, or find a local swimming pool to cool down. 

If you are one of the 150 million Americans who have a refractive error (you are farsighted, near sighted, or have an astigmatism), you have made a decision not to wear your glasses in the water and begin to debate wearing contact lenses instead. But you stop yourself as you remember your eye doctor warning you against wearing contact lenses in the water. Here’s why.

Why don’t Contact Lens and Water Mix? 

Water contains a whole slew of organisms or chemicals that can irritate the eyes. Most bodies of water are not completely germ-free and can possibly result in an eye infection or corneal ulcer. An ameba in particular called Acanthamoeba causes an infection that can result in blindness or a corneal transplant. 

Contact lenses act as a Petri dish. It provides a moist enclosement to keep things on the eye that should normally flush out. As a result, the CDC and FDA both recommend contact lenses be taken out when entering any water.

Author
Cindy Kweon, OD Cindy Kweon, OD Cindy Kweon, OD, (pronounced Kwon) is a board-certified comprehensive optometrist at Ophthalmology Physicians & Surgeons, PC. She is dedicated to providing high-quality care to patients in Hatboro, North Wales, and Levittown, Pennsylvania. Dr. Kweon received her bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Maryland, College Park, and went on to earn her doctoral degree in optometry from Salus University in Elkins Park. She underwent extensive clinical training in the pediatrics and comprehensive clinic at The Eye Institute in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Kay, Tabas, Niknam & DiDomenico Ophthalmology Associates in Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania; Allentown VA Clinic; and Century Eye Care in Langhorne, Pennsylvania. In addition to her training, Dr. Kweon is an active member of the American Optometric Association and Pennsylvania Optometric Association. To better serve a diverse population, Dr. Kweon is fluent in both English and Korean.

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