One of the most asked questions in relation to contact lens wear.
The straight forward answer from an Optometrist is NO!
Please do not ever think of wearing your contact lenses into a swimming pool which is home to multiple opportunistic microorganisms. In an unfortunate event where the cornea’s protective mechanism is compromised, infections are a real possibility. The worst outcome of all is blindness caused by the most notorious single cell organism, the Acanthamoeba!
The Acanthamoeba can be found in soil and water. The Acanthamoeba normally feeds on bacteria and rarely causes any harm to human. But in very rare cases, where someone went for swimming with their contact lenses on, the Acanthamoeba turned against the human cornea. If it went into the human eye without a piece of contact lens on, it would probably get swiped away by the blinking action of our eye lids. However, if it gets in between the contact lens and the cornea, it gets lodged in and it starts burrowing through the cornea. It is an excruciating ordeal which can result in vision loss.
Water will also cause the contact lens to alter its shape and texture. The fitting of the contact lenses will often be too tight and not suitable for use. The water content of the lenses will also be altered, causing discomfort during subsequent wear.
What can I do if I want to swim and I need prescriptive visual correction?
The first option is to make a pair of sports prescriptive glasses which will provide a secure fit even while swimming.
The second option would be to wear your normal prescriptive glasses but after getting it securely adjusted so that it does not come off under water. This isn’t an ideal solution for swimming for extended hours.
The third option would be to get swimming goggles with corrective prescription. However, these do not work very well if you have high astigmatism.
A single moment of negligence can cause some serious consequences. Always practise due diligence and never ever wear your contact lenses in a pool or the sea for that matter.
Stay Healthy & Stay Happy!