Contact Lenses & Swimming in Boston

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Contact Lenses & Swimming in Boston

Wearing contact lenses while swimming may be a problem. Boston Cornea Specialist JoAnn Chang, M.D. of D’Ambrosio Eye Care commented on the need for patients to use caution when considering wearing contact lenses while participating in water related activities, such as swimming. “Some patients-and even some eye care professionals-tend to be a little lax when it comes to directing contact lens wearers to avoid wearing their contact while swimming-or even in the shower-and especially in hot tubs or spas,” said Dr. Chang. “Contact lenses really shouldn’t be worn for swimming, taking showers, in bath tubs or in hot tubs as there is plenty of research and clinical experience that tells us that poses unnecessary safety risks to patients.”

The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recommended that contact lenses not be exposed to any form of water. Although rare, a sight-threatening eye complication, Acanthamoeba Keratitis, is caused by an organism present in all forms of impure water (i.e., swimming pools, tap water, saunas, wells, and showers). Acanthamoeba, and certain forms of bacteria present in water, can become attached to the contact lenses, possibly resulting in an infection. It would be preferable to insert your contact lenses after showering. If lenses are being worn while showering, it is recommended to keep your eyes firmly closed. If you accidentally wear your contact lenses while in the bathtub or hot tub, care should be taken to avoid water being splashed into the eyes. If your eyes are exposed to water, instill a lubricating drop to help loosen the lens on the eye, remove the lens with clean, dry hands, then clean and disinfect it the lens, or discard it. Never sleep in a lens that has been exposed to water, without first cleaning and disinfecting it. If lenses were removed prior to getting in a hot tub, they must be properly cleaned and disinfected before being re-inserted.

“Contact Lenses are really quite safe to wear if your follow proper care guidelines and instructions. However, if water restrictions such as swimming, bath tubs and showering are part of your daily routine, you do need to keep your lenses out. Many more patients-even very successful contact lens wearers-finds this to be a hassle and are now interested in discussing LASIK as an option,” said Dr. Chang.

If you or someone you know is interested in learning more about LASIK or scheduling a free LASIK Consultation please call D’Ambrosio Eye Care at 800-325-3937. You may also request an appointment at