Warning: Don’t Swim with Contact Lenses

I know, it’s strange to think that a geek might not look good in glasses. Unfortunately, there are some out there and in today’s society, that’s ok! You can correct your vision covertly with the wonderful advent of contact lenses. However, it seems that we’ve gotten a little bit lax in this generation with our eye hygiene. And that can have pretty serious consequences.

Did you know that swimming with lenses on is not recommended by opticians. Why? Because a creepy amoeba can literally burrow into your eye and damage your eye sight.

The amoeba that affected this girl is actually pretty rare, but has fast-acting and severe consequences. However, there is also a more common bacteria called “Psuedomonas bacteria” that also lives in water and can destroy your sight in 24-36 hours. Thinking “it’s so rare, it’s likely never going to happen to me” could very well land you in hospital and possibly leave you blind!

It’s astounding that most young people aren’t aware that you increase the danger to your eye by being lax with contact lens hygiene. Apparently infections from these sort of bacteria is on the rise with those under 50. With cheap online contact lenses options, people aren’t getting the education about lens hygiene that they should be getting at point of sale.

The fact is, when you are exposed to water while wearing your contact lenses, whether it be in a pool, the sea or even in your shower, if there happens to be a parasite in the water, it can easily lodge itself between the contact lens and your eye, allowing it to burrow into your eyeball. Obviously you should never wash your contact lens under tap water.

These parasites can also come from your contact lens case. If you haven’t replaced it in a while, tiny cracks can form in the case where micro-organisms can thrive. This is considered the “biggest culprit”. You’re actually meant to change your lens case every month. I always wondered why they gave you a case every time you bought new liquid. Now I know.

So in summary, if you wear contact lenses:

  • Never swim with them.
  • Never wash them under tap water.
  • Take them off when you shower.
  • Replace your contact lens case every month.

Better to be semi-blind while you have fun in the pool than run the risk of being permanently blind the rest of your life right?

[Via Daily Mail | Photo Credit]

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22 Responses to Warning: Don’t Swim with Contact Lenses

  1. I have a friend who lost an eye to that 24-36 hour amoeba :(. LASIK is safer and overall less expensive in the long run. Plus you never have to worry about the hassle.

  2. how are u not just as likely to get this creepy bacteria when swimming underwater with no lenses? if the water's in direct contact to ur eye, why are you less likely to be affected?

    • I assume that when you blink you can shift the creepy bacteria, whereas if you have a lens in blinking doesn't get rid of it because the bacteria is trapped between the contact lens and the eye.

    • If you continue reading this article it mentions that the parasite/bacteria lodges itself between the eyeball and the contact lens allowing it to cause problems.

  3. I think there was a slow day at the "news" desk and people just decided to hype up something nonsensical but inoffensive. Please to posting cosplay pictures of attractive people and leave the news and medicine to people who know what they're talking about.

  4. Though I'm assuming it's probably okay to still scuba-dive or snorkel with contact lenses of the right type, as the amount of water that can get in your eye is pretty minimal?

  5. Well it's not nonsensical, even if it's not news. You should definitely never swim with contacts in. Any mistreatment of contacts comes with a risk of getting very nasty bacterial infections. I'm not entirely sure why, but having a thing sealed onto your eye probably interferes with your normal biological defenses and maintenance. Supposedly microbes can get stuck to the lens and make their way into the eye from there, whereas without a lens they would just wash out from the tear film.

  6. this freaks me the (*#&$) out. I have to wear a contact in my left eye to pull my cornea into the proper position and I am also on a low antibiotic drop, butI wear contacts for 14 days straight and then remove them, toss them and change lenses.

  7. I was prepared for the worse when I clicked the link… Eye infection photos are one step away from STD photos.

    No worries though.

  8. This is why I spend the extra bit of money and buy the daily ones that you wear for the day and toss them. But then again, I don't wear my contacts all the time.

  9. I tried contacts and they felt like the most unnatural thing in the world. Now I'm pretty glad I've stuck to glasses, look strange without them on. My current pair I've had for 5 years and they are still going strong, could do another 5 with maybe a new set of screws, £180 but well worth it!

  10. The infection is not as rare as it once was. Weak contact solution brought about a significant jump in cases a few years ago. In fact, the amount of cases reported nationally were eclipsed nearly 8x in some large cities alone. My mother-in-law ended up having her eye removed to prevent the amoeba from traveling up her optic nerve and into her brain.

    Unfortunately, there are a lot of doctors that will show you how to put in your contacts, but provide very little information about how to properly wear them and how important it is not to cut corners.

  11. Further to LittleGreyGirl's post, i too wear daily disposables. Is there the same level of risk with these or only the monthly ones where you have to ensure that you follow the hygiene routine thoroughly!!??

  12. If I have been using the same storage container for a while, I open it and throw it into a pot of boiling water for 5 or more minutes. Kills everything.

  13. I am what my dr likes to call "contact dependant" meaning I wearing them constantly. I wear 2-week disposables, meaning I toss them after 2 weeks. I don't sleep in them though. They are made to be able to sleep in, and I will take a nap in them, but I won't sleep in them for the entire night. When I do swim, I wear goggles to protect my eyes. I suffer from a condition that makes my eyes sensative to light so being in the water that is already reflecting the light and then being sensative is just too much, wearing the colored goggles is just perfect. It keeps the water out of my eyes, lets me continue to see with my contacts in, and keeps the light cut down. Perfect solution.

  14. I don’t know how regulated the dispensing of contact lenses is in other countries. I do know that as part of G.O.C.compliance in the UK that any patient who is fitted with contact lenses will have (or should) been shown the correct way to remove, insert and care for their lenses which includes not sleeping in them (if they are not designed for extended wear) , using water on them including boiled water (as there are some bacteria and microbes which can survive past boiling point) Swimming in them is also advised against. The schedule of replacement will also be advised along with the correct use of cleaning solutions and cases if required. I think that there is a problem with how people perceive lenses as a product. I think people that a lot of people do not treat them responsibly as prescriptive goods. More frivolously like they are cosmetic. There is also an attitude that after you have worn them for a while you are an expert.You start picking up bad habits like ommitting to wash your hands, or using old solution to clean your lenses or not disposing of you lenses after the recommended period or wearing them for far too long and wondering why your eyes are all red and sore… I cannot stress how important it is to own an up to date pair of prescription specs. A lot of wearers have an emotional investment in lens wear and get very annoyed or upset when they have to wear glasses, because they wear lenses habitually they don’t feel that wearing glasses is part of their identity. Many of whom do not even own spectacles and even risk driving uncorrected.Rant over.

  15. The hydrogen peroxide and neutralisation solutions are more hassle but annihilate any living organisms….they also sting like HELL when you forget to neutralise the peroxide before wearing them..lol

    However I now use daily disposables for sports and glasses at all other times, the less poking about with your eyes the better.

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