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September 1, 2015

Swimming With Your Eyes

Goggles are Essential Under Water

Swim goggles are essential to everyoneโ€™s eye-wear and especially for contact lens wearers. Goggles can aid in protecting your eyes from the chlorine and bacteria in the water. For those who wear glasses, our eye doctors recommend prescription swim goggles. These are custom made with your prescription and can help you to see underwater. Make sure these goggles have UV-protective so you can avoid sun damage to your eyes when swimming outdoors.

Swimming and Contact Lens Wear

Among the various microbes that live in water, the most worrisome is the Acanthomoeba organism. This organism can adhere to contact lenses and results in a condition called Acanthomoeba keratitis and can cause permanent vision loss or require a corneal transplant surgery. Soft contact lenses should never be exposed to any type of water. This includes tap water, water from your shower, a hot tub, swimming pool or ocean. Goggles should be worn with contact lenses as they can help prevent your contact lenses from dislodging while you are in the swimming pool.

Proper contact lens care is vital to reduce the chance of an eye infection, irritation, and complications such as a corneal ulcer which can be sight-threatening. If water does enter your eyes while swimming, remove the lenses and clean them with a hydrogen peroxide contact lens cleaner. Our Calgary Optometrists highly recommend wearing Daily disposable contact lenses for sports and outdoor activities such as swimming. They are the safest option to consider if you do need to swim with contact lenses. These lenses are disposed after a single use eliminating the need to disinfect and clean the lenses. It is recommended that if daily lenses are worn during swimming, that they are discarded immediately after. The eyes should be flushed out with saline or artificial tears and a fresh pair should then be put on.

In case of eye irritations or sensitivity to light after wearing your contact lenses in water, come in and see one of our Optometrists. Medically necessary visits are now covered by Alberta Health Care for all age groups. Simply email us at or give us a call 587-353-5061.

Dr. Farrah Sunderji, OD

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