Can you Wear Contact Lenses in the pool?
Can I swim in a Swimming Pool with Contacts in?
The short answer is NO. Swimming with contact lenses on your eyes can result in health problems ranging from irritation to permanent blindness. Chemicals, organisms, microbes, bacteria and/or viruses can absorb in to or attach to the lenses and cause these problems.
Viruses and Microbes: Acanthamoeba keratitis is caused by the Acanthamoeba organism, one of the scariest and most damaging microbes you can get in your eye. The organism is sometimes found in tap water, so it can be in your hot tub, pool, and even in your shower. Almost everyone affected by this organism wears contacts. The result of this organism in your eye is an extremely dangerous corneal infection.
Other bacteria: Soft contact lenses are porous, so pool chemicals such as chlorine and also bacteria may be absorbed into the lenses and press against your eye, greatly increasing the chance of irritation or infection.
Other irritations: The fresh water found in your swimming pool causes soft lenses to tighten. This tightening causes the contact wearer to experience extreme eye pressure and redness while swimming.
Alternatives: If you have a prescription and need clear vision for swimming, consider ordering a pair of personalized swim goggles. As an added bonus, many swim goggles also have UV protection.
Author: John Dreyer Optometrist Bsc(Hons), MCOPTOM, DipCLP
Created: 19 Oct 2017, Last modified: 18 Apr 2019