Swimming is a physical activity most enjoyed using the five senses: eyes, ears, mouth, touch, taste. The feel of the water to the skin and the body in total, the calmness you hear as you get submerged into the body of water, the smell of salt and fresh water and the silence you automatically submit to as you dip in this different world.
With that much to see underwater, it would tempt one whose vision is compromised to put on contact lenses to have a better view. But there are considerations you may need to know before deciding on doing so. Here is why you should not wear contacts when swimming.
You should keep in mind that exposure of contact lenses to water could be dangerous, in general, due to its nature of reabsorbing water. More so, if it gets exposed to it for prolonged periods. When this happens, harmful microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, amoeba and different kinds of pathogens, may get trapped.
Microorganisms in swimming pools are at a minimum because of the solution they use to clean it. But there are soft lenses which remain porous, making it easy for the pathogens to adhere to the lenses. Therefore, into your eyes.
On the other hand, natural waters are detrimental to an array of microorganisms that could lead to numerous reactions and eye-damaging conditions.
Even the simple shower may serve as the vehicle for Acanthamoeba, a kind of amoeba that one may find in tap water or water from the well. It is the culprit for serious eye infections such as Acanthamoeba Keratitis, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The Rabbit Hole
Knowing not what risks are at stake is falling into a trap. Did you know that while coloured contact lenses can come with a prescription, usually are emphasized of contraindications, over-the-counter ones or online purchases should come with a set of instructions. Do not ignore the most common conditions should these symptoms occur:
- Eye infections – come with cardinal signs that might get you convinced to shrug off. Itchy eyes are usually the very first symptom one would feel when there’s something wrong. Before touching it, be cautious and check your eyes for redness, swelling, and discharge. Extreme reactions include pain, blurred vision, irritability and sensitivity to light, which leads to teary eyes. An early diagnosis stops a permanent loss of eyesight.
- Eye irritation – Truth be told, contact lenses could adhere to your eyes in a wrong way if it sticks to it rather than latch on it. Ideally, you want to avoid eye irritations as people might think you are wearing vampire contacts when in fact you have a red eye infection.
- Corneal Abrasion – also known as a “scratch” may heal itself as the corneal if the scratch is shallow. With a 10 per cent coverage of the entire cornea, the corneal epithelium cells have an impressive ability to regenerate itself in seven days. But if the scratch would pass the epithelial surface, that is when it needs medical attention. A feeling of irritability would be the initial symptom so, do not ignore as it catches your attention, since the earlier it gets diagnosed, the earlier it gets repaired.
- Dry Eye Syndrome – happens, exponentially, when swimming in chlorinated water. As the contact lens find it challenging to attach smoothly, it could lead to eye ulcers or corneal damage as mentioned above.
Understanding these simple facts would help you dodge the bullet of having threatening eye infections. Contact lenses, corrective or aesthetic, should be able to serve its purpose. That would only be possible if the wearer is vigilant enough to study dos and don’ts on top of the contraindications and take them seriously.