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Can I Swim in My Colored Contact Lenses?

Can I Swim in My Colored Contact Lenses?


We know, we know, you can’t get enough of our colored contact lenses - and how you look and feel in them! Maybe you wear them just for the style update - and maybe you wear them so you can see more than a foot in front of you. Either way, you love them and you want to look amazing on the beach or by the pool

Can I wear my colored contacts in the pool?

We get this question all the time. What about on the beach? How about if it’s not salt water. If you ask any eye doctor, you’ll get the same answer. NO!

We know it’s tempting. We understand. But, here at EyeCandy’s, our No. 1 goal and focus is on your health and safety. And honestly - don’t shower in them either. Sorry!

But WHY?

You may be wondering why. If you’re like us - you mayyyybe don’t exactly love to be told what to do ;). We promise, we aren’t feeding you arbitrary rules just to be bossy. So, we’ll tell you a little bit about why you want to avoid watersports (and shower) while wearing your colored contact lenses. And this applies to ANY contact lenses of any kind.

No matter how clear the water looks - yes, even in the brightest blue Caribbean waters, it is the most comfy and enjoyable natural home for a wide variety of microorganisms and bacteria. Whether it’s a swimming pool, lake, stream, ocean, hot tub, or plain ol’ tap water.

We aren’t trying to gross you out. You come into contact with these microbes all day every day and your body has defense mechanisms which keep you healthy and safe. Unfortunately, as safe and comfortable as our colored contact lenses are, they are not entirely natural. And that means they interfere with your body’s natural defense mechanisms.

Contact Lenses are Porous

Think of them as tiny sponges that can absorb liquids. That’s purposeful for the sake of comfort and wearability. We want our colored contact lenses to absorb enough liquids to keep them moving correctly and keep our eyes from drying out. With the help of natural tears and in some cases drops, contact lenses retain their flexibility. However, water that is absorbed into your contact lens is trapped against the eye. Microbes in that water can then attack the surface of the eye.

Normally, when water touches your eye’s surface, your nervous system signals a response and you blink, pushing those bacteria and microorganisms away, and tears help to flush them out. But, when you’re wearing a contact lens, those microbes are able to hide underneath and avoid being naturally blinked and washed away.

Woman swimming alone in body of water. Photo by Drew Dau on Unsplash

Photo by Drew Dau on Unsplash

Beaches, Lakes, and Swimming Pools - Oh My!

So, here’s the thing. If you’re swimming in the ocean, a lake, a pond, or a river, you’re likely to come into contact with more naturally occurring microorganisms that can lead to eye infections.

If you spend your summer in the pool and cool evenings in the jacuzzi, you’ll find chemicals that create additional irritation in the eye, which allows microbes even more opportunity to infect.

Acanthamoeba is a microorganism found even in treated and filtered tap water (ahem… your shower).

Other Issues

So, maybe you escape the microorganisms and bacteria found in tap water in your shower, chlorinated water, and at the beach. There are other very valid reasons to avoid wearing your contact lenses to swim or shower.

Water causes contact lenses to swell, making them less comfortable on the eye. Water can also wash away your natural tear film, which is lubricating and helps keep your eyes feeling so dry.

Chemicals in swimming pools can cause the tissue of your eye to become read, swollen, and inflamed. Salt in ocean water can irritated the surface of your eye. And there is also the risk of losing your contact lenses while swimming or showering.

What If I Want to Do it Anyway?

We strongly suggest you completely refrain from wearing contact lenses of any kind when swimming. If you are determined to do it anyway, and willing to take the risk, we highly recommend you wear a daily disposable and throw them away immediately after swimming.

If you experience negative effects after swimming in your contact lenses, such as redness, pain, irritation, light sensitivity, unusual discharge, or blurred vision, throw the lenses away immediately.

If these symptoms last more than a few hours, get in touch with your eye doctor right away. And own up to swimming in your contact lenses, so they know how to offer support.

Okay, Okay, I Won’t! But, I NEED My Contacts to SEE!!

Wet glasses. Photo by Hermes Rivera on Unsplash

Photo by Hermes Rivera on Unsplash

If you are serious about swimming, and concerned about your vision in the pool, you have a couple of options.

You could pair those disposable lenses we discussed with a good pair of goggles to reduce your risk for exposure. (And still throw out your contact lenses afterward).

If you swim often, it may be worth the investment to purchase a pair of prescription swim goggles. Bonus - many are also available with UV protection.

Now, go forth and enjoy the water - and keep those gorgeous eyes safe!

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