Can you use contact lenses under water?


2024-04-03 4:51 p.m.
Woman swimming underwater

A question many contact lens users come across one day is: can you wear contact lenses under water? The short answer is: no. You should avoid wearing contact lenses under water. The primary reason is that it can irritate the eye, and in the worst-case scenario, cause an eye infection.

Eye Infection

Most water actually contains microorganisms and other bacteria. If these get into your eye, you can get an eye infection. It could happen anytime, but it's especially problematic with contact lenses, as these can stick to your lenses, making the infection worse.

Water makes lenses change shape

If water gets in your eye, it can actually cause your contact lenses to change shape. This can irritate your eyes as the contact lens can scratch your cornea.

Avoid these activities

If you want to be on the safe side, you should remove your contact lenses before doing any of these activities:

  • Showering
  • Swimming in a pool
  • Swimming in the sea
  • Water sports
  • Jacuzzi

If you still plan to partake in any of these activities with contact lenses on, make sure to avoid getting water in your eyes. Alternatively, you can buy prescription swimming goggles.

If the unfortunate happens

If you have been in water with your contact lenses, take it easy. Remove your contact lenses and throw them away. Nothing is likely to happen, but be extra vigilant over the next few days for new symptoms such as red eyes, blurry vision, or pain in your eyes. Seek immediate medical attention if you experience any of these or other symptoms.

References

  1. CDC, Water and Contact Lenses Don’t Mix
  2. Water Exposure is a Common Risk Behavior Among Soft and Gas-Permeable Contact Lens Wearers