CLEContactLenses Health and Wellness Report Issue 1: Be Conscious of the Health Risks of Swimming with Contact Lenses in This Summer

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Summer is right around the corner, and people are flooding to the beaches, lakes, and pools. However, there are many health concerns that come along with swimming with your contact lenses in.

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Acanthamoeba Keratitis, A disease that can cause permanent vision damage/loss, and can require a corneal transplant if not treated swiftly.

With the summer season coming up, it's important to understand and realize the very real health risks of swimming with contact lenses in. has compiled some of the most common risks and alternative options.

Swimming with contact lenses in can be extremely dangerous to ones overall eye health, and should be avoided whenever necessary. The FDA even advises on their website to keep contact lenses away from any tap, bottled, distilled, lake, or ocean water. That article is here.

In many different bodies of water there are viruses, bacteria, parasites, and dangerous microbes. One of the most commonly destructive bacteria's is the Acanthamoeba organism. This protozoa can attach to the contact lenses and cause serious damage to the cornea of the eye. Causing intense inflammation and irritation, the Acanthamoeba can cause Acanthamoeba Keratitis. A disease that can cause permanent vision damage/loss, and can require a corneal transplant if not treated swiftly. Read more on the Acanthamoeba here.

It is recommended to wear goggles if wearing contacts while swimming. Goggles are not 100% guaranteed to block water out, however they do add an extra layer of protection. If water does get into swimming goggles one is suggested to remove their contacts, and then thoroughly clean and disinfect them to lower chances of infection.

Swimming with contact lenses doesn't just increase the chance for eye related diseases, it causes redness, dryness, and severe irritation. Depending on the type of contact lens one has, there are different complications that you are going to face.

When swimming with soft lenses, fresh and pool water cause soft lenses to tighten up and constrict the eyeball, leading to irritation and redness. The soft lenses are also prone to absorb more bacteria and chemicals because of the nature of the material. On the other hand, hard lenses like rigid gas permeable lenses should never be worn while swimming. These have a high chance of falling off and leaving the eyeball completely exposed to the water.

Because contact lenses are prone to absorb certain harmful bacteria and chemicals, it is ideal to use disposable lenses and discard them immediately after use. Another smart option would be to get prescription goggles. While they can be a little bit pricey to get them customized; for frequent swimmers, it can be a very good investment. They will eventually save money from all the wasted disposable contacts, and still provide protection against harmful parasites. highly advocates for healthy and smart contact lens practices. To read more about the health risks of swimming with contact lenses, and overall eye health, read more at the CLE Contact Lenses blog.

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Chris Kalian
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