Water can pose a serious threat to contact lenses and contact lens wearers, so try to avoid swimming while wearing your lenses wherever possible. Untreated water is a host for harmful microbes and viruses. Should theses come into contact with your lenses, they can come into contact with the cornea, causing inflammation and infection. The most dangerous of these infections is the Acanthamoeba organism. The organism is responsible for causing a condition known as Acanthamoeba keratitis. While the condition is very rare, contracting it can result in partial or full vision loss, or require a corneal transplant.
What should I do if I have to swim with my contact lenses in?
If you need to keep your lenses in while swimming, it's highly advisable to wear daily disposable contacts and to use waterproof swimming goggles. Prescription goggles are a highly recommended alternative for those that need visual correction while they swim and reduce the risk of contracting an infection whilst wearing contact lenses in untreated water.
After your swim, whether you think any water has reached your eyes or not, make sure to dispose of your contact lenses to eliminate the chance of irritation or infection.
What should I do if my contact lens fell in pool chlorine?
In the unlikely event that one of your contact lenses falls out of your eye and into water, whether chlorinated or not, you should immediately dispose of your lenses. While cleaning your lens in contact lens solution may work to kill any bacteria gathered, the safest option is always to apply a fresh set of contact lenses.
Can I Scuba Dive/Snorkel wearing contact lenses?
If you opt to wear contact lenses during scuba diving or snorkelling, it is advisable that you wear daily disposable lenses and dispose of them immediately after a dive. Sea water is not treated; therefore you risk the chance of infection. There are prescription masks available for scuba google and swimming googles, although these are relatively expensive, it is worth the investment.
As you cannot communicate verbally underwater, always make sure to let your diving partner know if you are wearing lenses should one fall out and you loose visibility. Due to the changes in pressure as you descend during diving, it is highly advisable that you do not wear rigid gas permeable lenses and opt for soft contact lenses.
If you experience persistent irritation that will not clear in your eyes after being in water, visit your optician or GP at the closest opportunity.