A 2003 research published by the American Academy of Optometry (AAO) shows that those who wear contact lenses while swimming but do not wear goggles have a much higher risk of contracting an eye condition.
Swimming pool water is known to be a host to potential problems with the eyes, including bacterial infections and injuries. Swimmers wearing contact lenses are believed to be more at risk for complications. The use of goggles is thought to create a barrier protecting against potentially harmful water. However, there are problems that can arise from their use mostly because of goggle fit which is of particular concern and potential accidents that may occur.
To reach their conclusions,they’ve surveyed the Northeastern University women’s swim team regarding contact lens and goggle use. Questions were asked pertaining to their goggle wear history, past eye infections and injuries resulting from frequent exposure to the environment of the pool.
Over half of the participants used contact lenses on a daily basis in the swimming pools. Of 23 subjects analysed, the study noted that there was a 70 per cent higher risk of developing infection in those who did not wear goggles compared with those who chose to put them on. As a result, 15 reported having had conjunctivitis, others mentioned minor bruises caused by the prescription goggles they’ve used for the purpose of the study but no infections whatsoever related to their use.
When the seeing-impaired get their first pair of contacts, they often get a lengthy list of guidelines that include, “Don’t wear contact lenses longer than you’re supposed to.” But just how important is it to follow this rule? As it turns out, very. Mucin and protein from tears build up on the lenses, which is why it’s important to clean and disinfect them on a regular basis. If not, a lens develops a sandpaper-like texture over time, putting your eye at high risk of infection. Recommendations for contact lens wearers from the American Optometric Association include removing contact lenses before swimming or entering a hot tub since chloride water from the pools will add up to the damages and eventually ruin your sight.
Competitive and amateur swimmers alike need to be aware of the possible problems and complications while they are in the pool. Some of the many factors to be aware of with regard to eye safety during swimming include contact lens care, goggle design, common accidents, and infections that may occur. Next time you don’t feel like taking the time to remove your contacts or using swimming goggles, think twice – make sure to use some very good ones to prevent unnecessary injury and infection to your eyes!