You might say that swimming and showering with your lenses are the main reasons you wear them for long periods of time. You want crystal clear vision wherever you go and for every activity, something that glasses can’t always provide. It turns out that you put yourself at risk of serious infections and even loss of vision if you wear your contacts while having fun in the pool or in the shower.
The United States Food & Drug Administration warns that contact lenses should not come near water – this includes swimming pools and the shower, as well as natural bodies of water like the ocean and lakes. When you expose your lenses to water for an extended period of time, such as an afternoon swim, some of the water may be absorbed by your lenses, along with the bacteria and viruses they harbor. Natural bodies of water, like the ocean, are even more risky because their bacterial composition is more diverse than that of a swimming pool, according to Healthline.
Showering with your contacts carries the same risks and can make you more susceptible to developing eye infections, dry eyes, and even inflammation. The most significant danger, however, is developing Acanthamoeba keratitis. Caused by Acanthamoeba bacteria, which can be present in all types of water, including tap water, it is difficult to treat and can even lead to loss of vision. Your best bet is to remove your lenses, and if you’re a professional swimmer, talk to your optometrist about prescription eyewear.