Swimming and Contact Lenses
Can’t see without your glasses and love your contacts, so why not swim in them? The answer is that you should NOT swim in contact lenses because it increases your risk of eye problems from mild irritation to severe eye infections. Most contact lenses are at least 50% water. So if you are swimming in a pool with chlorine, that chlorinated water is going to penetrate your contacts and stay in contact with the surface of your eye for up to an hour after swimming. This can irritate the surface of your eye and increase your risk of infection.
While mild eye irritation goes 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.
So if you want to swim and see without glasses, consider LASIK. Wearing contact lenses in the water decreases your chance of fighting off possible infections. Should you have a severe corneal ulcer, the scarring may make contact lens wear in the future impossible and also make you a poor candidate for LASIK vision correction. Call for a free, no-pressure screening exam with our Dr. Martha Jay - a leading expert in blade-free LASIK in the Milwaukee area.
Those glasses may be bulky but they are your better choice over contacts in the water! Enjoy a safe summer. Call today for a free iLASIK evaluation or comprehensive eye examination.
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