Contact Lenses for swimming in Maine becomes a very popular topic this time of year as March marks the time of year many students-especially college students-get ready for spring break activities that often include swimming, hot tubs and water sports. Contact lenses really should not be worn for swimming, taking showers, in bath tubs or in hot tubs as this poses safety risks to patients. “We often hear patient questions about wanting to wear their contacts while in a pool or hot tub or even while in the shower. This is not a good idea and can significantly increase the safety risks of contact lens wear,” said Maine Corneal Specialist Ravi Shah, M.D. of Eyecare Medical Group in Portland.
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. Shah. If you or someone you know is interested in learning more about LASIK or scheduling a Free LASIK Consultation please call Eyecare Medical Group at 888-374-2020.