Wearing Contacts When Swimming Is Risky

May 18, 2018


As an eye care professional, it is my duty to educate and inform individuals about the importance of eye health and safety. One common concern that many people have is whether it is safe to wear contact lenses while swimming. In this article, we will explore the potential risks and complications associated with wearing contacts in water and why it is generally advised against. So, let's dive right in!

The Potential Dangers

While contact lenses are generally safe for daily wear, exposing them to water poses several risks that could potentially harm your eyes. The following are some of the dangers associated with wearing contacts when swimming:

1. Microorganisms and Infections

Water in pools, lakes, and even tap water contains various microorganisms, including bacteria, viruses, and parasites. These microorganisms can attach themselves to contact lenses and increase the risk of eye infections, such as conjunctivitis (pink eye) or keratitis (inflammation of the cornea). Even if you swim in chlorinated pools, the chlorine may not effectively kill all harmful microorganisms.

2. Chemical Irritation

Chlorine and other chemicals used to treat swimming pools can irritate your eyes. Contact lenses can trap these substances against the surface of your eye, causing discomfort, redness, and dryness. Extended exposure to chlorinated water can lead to corneal damage and make your eyes more susceptible to infections.

3. Contact Lens Loss

While swimming, there is always a risk of losing a contact lens in the water. This can happen if a wave hits your face, if you rub your eyes vigorously, or during underwater activities. Losing a lens in open water can be especially challenging, and the lens may cause harm to aquatic life if not properly disposed of.

4. Contact Lens Damage

Water can affect the integrity and shape of your contact lenses, potentially leading to tears, warping, or protein buildup. Damaged lenses can scratch your cornea, resulting in discomfort and vision problems.

Precautions to Take

Considering the potential risks involved, it is strongly advised to avoid wearing contact lenses while swimming. However, if you still choose to wear contacts in water, here are some precautions to help minimize the risks:

1. Use Daily Disposable Lenses

Using daily disposable contact lenses can reduce the risk of infections and complications. After swimming, discard the lenses and use a new pair the next time you wear contacts.

2. Wear Waterproof Prescription Goggles

If you require vision correction and want to swim comfortably, consider getting a pair of waterproof prescription goggles. These goggles provide both vision correction and protection for your eyes against water.

3. Maintain Proper Hygiene

Before and after swimming, make sure to thoroughly clean and disinfect your contact lenses as per the instructions provided by your eye care professional. This can help minimize the risk of infections.

4. Keep Your Eyes Closed

While underwater, try to keep your eyes closed as much as possible to prevent water from coming into contact with your lenses and eyes. This will help reduce the risk of chemical irritation and lens loss.

5. Take Regular Breaks

If you do wear contact lenses while swimming, ensure you take regular breaks to rest your eyes and give them a break from the potential risks associated with prolonged contact lens wear in water.


Wearing contact lenses while swimming can pose serious risks to your eye health. Although it may seem convenient, it is important to prioritize the safety of your eyes. Avoiding contact lens wear in water is strongly advised to prevent infections, irritations, lens damage, and loss. However, if you still choose to wear contact lenses while engaging in water activities, take the necessary precautions to minimize the risks and consult with your eye care professional for personalized guidance. Your eyes deserve the best care, so make informed choices to protect their health and well-being.

Paul Berens
Great article! 👍 It's crucial to prioritize safety when it comes to our eyes. Wearing contacts while swimming can pose serious risks, so let's be responsible and take care of our vision! 🏊‍♀️😷
Nov 11, 2023
William Welsby
👀 Safety first! It's important to protect your eyes while swimming. Take care, folks! 🏊
Oct 6, 2023