SWIMMING AND CONTACT LENSES By Dr. Mark German, Optometrist at Lakeshore Eye Care Professionals in Mequon & Saukville, Wisconsin
You can’t see without your glasses and love your contacts so why not swim in them? WRONG! You should never swim in contact lenses as doing so increases your risks of developing eye problems from mild irritation to severe eye infections. Most contact lenses are at least 50% water. This means that chlorinated water penetrates your contacts and stays in contact with the surface of your eye for up to an hour after swimming. The result is an irritation to the surface of your eye and an increased risk of infection.
While a mild eye irritation may go away in a day or so, a severe eye infection can result in permanent eye damage. Even in the best maintained pool or spa, bacteria can be present. In lake water, a severe pathogen called acanthamoeba may be present that causes a difficult to treat corneal ulcer. This protozoa penetrates the cornea rapidly and often requires specially formulated eye drops to save the eye. Beaches may also present the possibility of a fusarium fungal infection.
Those glasses may be bulky but they are your better choice over contacts in the water! Another alternative is LASIK vision correction. That way you can free yourself of the hassles of contact lenses and glasses and still enjoy the outdoors. As you know, our Dr. Martha Jay is a leader in blade-free LASIK vision correction. There is still time to have LASIK before summer, to get started call for your free LASIK screening exam. So enjoy a safe summer by either leaving those contacts out while swimming or stepping up to LASIK.
For more eye care information, visit www.LakeShoreVision.com or call 262-241-1919.