SWIMMING AND CONTACT LENSES, OH NO! By Dr. James Ivanoski, Optometrist at Lakeshore Eye Care Professionals with offices in Mequon & Saukville, Wisconsin
You can’t see without your glasses so why not swim in your contact lenses? The “why not” has to do with safety: swimming in contact lenses significantly increases your risk of developing eye problems that range from mild to quite severe. Most contact lenses are at least 50% water. This means that chlorinated water penetrates your contacts and stays in on 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 vision loss. 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. If you really want to see well in the water without glasses, however, it may be time to consider LASIK vision correction. With LASIK you can free yourself of the hassles of glasses and still safely enjoy the outdoors. LASIK is actually safer than contact lenses on dry land too! As you know, our Dr. Martha Jay is a leader in blade-free LASIK vision correction.
LASIK screening exams are free, just give us a call. In the meantime, don’t wear those contacts in the water!
Dr. James Ivanoski is an optometrist at Lakeshore Eye Care Professionals. He welcomes patients of all ages into his practice and accepts most insurance plans.
For more eye care information, call 262-241-1919 or visit www.LakeShoreVision.com.