Here is a great article written by the American Optometric Association back in 2015.
Summer's unofficial start is just days away as pools and recreational getaways are ready for the season, offering doctors a prime opportunity for discussing contact lens hygiene around water.
Americans will flock to local pools, waterparks, or larger bodies of water to escape the summer heat. However, contact lens wearers sometimes break important sanitation rules and risk infection by wearing their contact lenses around water, which often contains bacteria.
Did you know? According to the AOA’s American Eye-Q® Survey, nearly a quarter of those surveyed admit to swimming in their contact lenses. Water often contains bacteria that can cause eye infections.
According to the FDA and the AOA, contact lenses should not be exposed to any kind of water, including tap water and water in showers—53 percent of contact lens wearers say they shower while wearing their lenses, according to AOA’s American Eye-Q® Survey.
“Contact lenses are like sponges and will absorb whatever is in the water, including any chemicals or bacteria that may be present,”
Do contact lenses accidentally get splashed with water? Use artificial tears to lubricate and float the lens on the eye, wash and dry your hands and remove the lens, then clean and disinfect the lens with a fresh sterile solution, or if it is a disposable lens throw it away.
Spending the day at the pool? If more pain or redness is observed in the eyes than normal after being in the pool, call an optometrist as soon as possible.
Did you know? UV protection is especially important around water. Sand and water at the beach, for instance, can reflect an additional 25 percent of UV rays, increasing the risk of damage to one’s eyes. The AOA recommends wearing sunglasses that block out 99 to 100 percent of both UV-A and UV-B rays.
“Even just a few hours of intense exposure to sunlight out by the pool or beach could cause photokeratitis, known as a ‘sunburn of the eye,’ which can cause red eyes, a foreign-body sensation or gritty feeling in the eyes, extreme sensitivity to light and excessive tearing,”
For swimming, water skiing, or other sports, well-fitted prescription goggles that offer vision correction may be an option offered by an optometrist. Another route may be a durable, expertly fitted pair of prescription sun eyewear, which not only provides vision correction but also protects against harmful UV rays.
In case of an ocular emergency, an optometrist can help prevent an eye infection or other serious damage from occurring. The eye doctor can answer questions over the telephone and recommend an office or emergency room visit for care.
Whether aiming to champion the tallest water slide or set a new goal on water skis, remember to practice good hygiene and safety with contact lenses and visit your optometrist annually, or more often if directed, to ensure your eyes are healthy.