Contact Lenses and Swimming

This is a topic that needs to be talked about more often with contact lens wearers that wear them when swimming. I’ll give away the answer right now. Simplest thing to do to prevent an eye infection is to not wear them, period. There, I solved the world’s problem with swimming and eye infections with contact lens wearers. But you are the kind of person that just doesn’t believe what someone else says, especially when you don’t know me, right? And you’re asking yourself how could you possibly, in that nice clear water, get something in your eye, around your contact lens, that causes an eye infection?

Let’s just start with the premise that there are some bacteria and other little microscopic organisms that can cause infections. If you just read that, you probably learned that in first grade. And you probably know that our bodies have a huge number of bacteria living on us at any given moment (trillions of them). Add some of those that come off of you to the number of other swimmers in the pool at the same time, we now have a large rave of bacteria and funky things among us.

What I’ve read about swimming pools that are treated with chemicals is that bacteria may only live for a few minutes. They are not killed instantly even if the pool has the right level of treatment. In a couple of the pools I’ve been in around my area I’ve seen signs that tell us to shower before we enter the pool. I’m not going to describe the places on our body where some of the problem causing bacteria come from. I think you know where I’m referring to. But let me make this a teeny bit clearer, people that have diarrhea should not get into the pool. There, I said it.

Here’s what you can do if you’re a contact lens wearer. I’d say don’t swim with them in untreated water, ie, lakes or ponds. One reason is there’s a enormous amount of funky microscopic swimming things in those places and usually there’s no clean water source nearby to rinse or wash off before or after. If you are going to swim in a treated pool, goggles will help keep water out of your eyes and probably most of the unwanted stuff. I’d wear disposable contact lenses if I just had to wear them to see. That way you can throw them away when you get out of the pool and put in your regular pair or another pair of disposables.

I’m going to include a couple of website links that you could get more information from and even a free water testing kit for your pool. Be careful wearing those contact lenses! Why not ask your eye doctor for a sample trial of disposable contact lenses along with your regular brand so you’ll have that option available to you when you swim?

http://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2013/p0806-helathy-swimming.html

http://healthypools.org/

http://www.ehagroup.com/resources/articles/healthy-swimming-tips/

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