Is It Okay to Swim With Contact Lenses?

Is It Okay to Swim With Contact Lenses?

Jun 01, 2024

Swimming is a favorite activity for many, but contact lens wearers need to consider eye safety. While swimming with contacts might seem easy, it can harm your eyes. Let’s explore the risks, myths, and safety tips in this blog.

Risks of Swimming with Contact Lenses

Increased Risk of Eye Infections

Swimming in pools, lakes, or oceans exposes the eyes to various microorganisms, including bacteria and parasites. Contact lenses create a perfect environment for these microorganisms to thrive, increasing the risk of eye infections such as microbial keratitis. The warm, moist space under your lenses can encourage bacteria, causing inflammation and discomfort.

Potential Damage to Contact Lenses

Contact lenses are not designed to withstand prolonged exposure to water. Swimming in chlorinated pools or saltwater can cause contact lenses to soak up chemicals and swell, causing discomfort and possible damage to the lenses. The pool water’s chemicals can also break down the lens material, affecting how well they work and how long they last.

Exposure to Chemicals and Bacteria in Water

Swimming in chlorinated pools or natural bodies of water can expose your eyes to irritating chemicals, bacteria, parasites, or algae. Contact lenses can trap these contaminants, causing irritation, redness, and inflammation.

Common Concerns and Misconceptions

The Belief That Water-tight Goggles Prevent Contact With Water

While goggles can provide some protection, they cannot completely seal out water from reaching the eyes and lenses. Water-tight goggles may minimize water exposure, but they cannot guarantee complete protection. Water can still seep in from the sides or through small gaps, putting the eyes at risk of contamination.

Misunderstanding About the Safety of Disposable Lenses

Some people mistakenly believe that disposable contact lenses are safe for swimming because they can be discarded after use. However, disposable lenses can still absorb water and harbor bacteria during swimming, posing a risk of infection. Discarding the lenses after swimming does not eliminate the risk of exposure to contaminants during swimming.

Underestimation of the Risk of Eye Infections

Many swimmers underestimate the risk of eye infections associated with swimming with contact lenses. They may not be aware of the potential consequences, including vision loss and long-term damage to the eyes. Ignoring the risks and continuing to swim with contact lenses can give rise to serious eye complications that may require medical intervention.

Tips for Safe Swimming with Contact Lenses

Use of Water-tight Goggles

Invest in high-quality, water-tight goggles that fit snugly and cover the eyes completely. Goggles with a tight seal around the eyes can minimize water exposure and reduce the risk of contamination. Choose goggles specifically designed for swimming to ensure optimal protection.

Removal of Contact Lenses Before Swimming

For optimal eye care, it’s safest to take out your contact lenses before swimming to keep them away from water. Put them in a clean case with fresh solution to keep them clean. If you use daily disposable lenses, throw them away before swimming and use a new pair later.

Consideration of Daily Disposable Lenses for Occasional Swimmers

If you prefer to swim with contact lenses, consider using daily disposable lenses for occasional swimming activities. Daily disposable lenses can be discarded after swimming, reducing the risk of contamination and infections. It’s crucial to practice good hygiene and not reuse lenses worn while swimming.

Alternatives to Swimming with Contact Lenses

Prescription Goggles

If you rely on vision correction, consider getting prescription goggles specifically designed for swimming. Prescription goggles provide clear vision underwater without the need for contact lenses. They provide a safe and easy option for swimmers who need vision correction.

Switching to Glasses While Swimming

Another option is to wear glasses instead of contact lenses while swimming. While glasses may not provide optimal vision underwater, they offer better protection against water exposure. Choose sports glasses with polycarbonate lenses for added durability and impact resistance.

Consultation With an Eye Care Professional for Personalized Advice

If you are unsure about the best option for swimming with vision correction, consult an eye care professional. An optometrist in Cass Street can evaluate your eye health and lifestyle needs to recommend the most suitable solution. They can give you personalized advice and help based on what you need and like.


Swimming with contact lenses poses risks to eye health, including increased risk of infections and potential damage to lenses. It’s essential to understand these risks and take necessary precautions to protect your eyes. Whether you choose to use water-tight goggles, remove contact lenses before swimming, or explore alternative options like prescription goggles or glasses, prioritize eye health and safety when swimming. Seeking a consultation with a professional specializing in family eye care in Monterey

They can give you advice and guidance tailored just for you, based on what you need and like.

Prioritize Eye Safety: Book Your Appointment Now!

Take the first step towards safer swimming practices by scheduling a consultation with Eye MD Monterey – Cass St., your trusted eye clinic. Our experienced optometrists are here to provide personalized advice and recommend the best solutions for protecting your eyes while swimming. Don’t let contact lenses compromise your vision. Contact us now to prioritize your eye health and enjoy worry-free swimming!

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