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Contact Lenses and Swimming

Hello, I'm new here, so sorry if this topic has already been extensively covered. I did a search but nothing came up as my search terms "contact lens swimming" were too general so I imagine it already has been discussed.

Anyway - as you've probably guessed I wear contact lenses and would like to know how people deal with the issue of swimming whilst wearing them. I'm fully aware of the dangers of wearing contacts whilst swimming and therefore have some wonderful water tight goggles. However, I woke up at 2am the other morning following an evening swim to an extremely painful and watering eye. I immediately discarded my lens and my eye was back to normal in the morning. I don't remember getting any water in that eye however so am not sure if it's related or not.

I wear continuous wear lenses. I know that one suggestion is to wear daily disposables but my life has been transformed by continuous wear and I'd be very upset if I had to give them up. I'm also very short sighted so can't not wear any else I'll never know where I'm heading to.

Id love to hear peoples experiences and suggestions,



  • I wear monthly disposable lenses, but take them out at night. Swum for more than 10 years with them now, and never had an issue, either during or after swimming.

    Spoke with my optician last year and he wasn't really too concerned about the pool swimming, as I always wear goggles. However, he did recommend that when I do any open water swimming, then I use daily disposables, so once the event is finished, I can remove them, together with any dirt, and throw them away. All seemed to work so far.
  • AmyLGKAmyLGK Posts: 3
    Excellent! Thanks - I'll go and have a word with my optician.

    I know that in general health professionals air on the side of caution so I wondered if there wasn't as much to worry about wearing lenses as is written about.
  • Hi! For about 3 years now I've been using these special contact lenses called Ortho K. I wear them at night during which they reshape my 'cornea', and I don't need to wear anything/can see perfectly for the whole of the next day! I know it may sound a bit gruesome but I've never had a problem with them.
    They seem pretty perfect for triathlon (my optician who suggested them to me is also a triathlete, maybe he has shares in the company!). They cost about the same as monthly disposables.
    They only issue is I think they only work well with those who have mild short sightedness. You may have to speak with your optician if you are very short sighted..but I can highly recommend them!
    Good luck!
  • 101SUSY101SUSY Posts: 53
    Getting a set of daily disposables for races is a really good suggestion. You could also talk to your optician about getting some prescription goggles. They cost about £70-100. No good for race day, fumbling about trying to get your lenses in is the last thing you want to be doing in transition, but might help solve your problem for pool practice.
  • The main probs with contact lenses and swimming is that contact lenses are predominatly made up of water usually in the region of 55% water 45% polymer. So when ya swimming the water in the make up of the lens is replaced with the shite in the pool/lake. When you've finished swimming the shite in the lens is then held against/released into your cornea. The biggest potenial risk in this is Acanaeomeba (excuse the spelling) which is sight threatening and generally bad news.

    As the other posts have said the best option is a pair of secure fitting goggles, fine for training but you'll struggle to keep them secure at the start of an open water splashy thrashy tri. A pack of daily disposable contact lenses is usually the best bet. They'll cost you around £20 for 30 pairs dependant on the brand and usually have at least a 12 month shelf life so'll do a full season. As soon as the race is done bin them and replace them with a fresh pair to get rid of the shite. If you need it I can recommend a good optician.

    -bez_za, the triathlete optician
  • largeadelargeade Posts: 166
    Depending how blind you are, just get a pair of prescription goggles - aquasphere eagles are what I use, about 35 quid all in with the prescription lenses on wiggle. Two pairs have lasted 3 years and are still going strong.

    I tend to use them in races too. The only issue is looking like a plonk keeping them on in the run to t1.
  • md6md6 Posts: 969
    I wear disposable ones which i wear continuously for a month (inc to sleep in) then bin them and put in another pair. I have worn them a few times in the pool but wouldn't advise that as it damages them - makes them dry out and start to deteriorate. I now wear dailys for swimming, and they were fine for me up to Iron distance. Although i had a pair of dailies taped to the top tube on the bike and a pair in the jersey pocket too just in case - thankfully didn't need them.

    I have some prescription goggles, but don't find they fit as well (they aren't Eagles though - if i'd known you could get Rx ones i would have got them)and i also need to wear them as soon as i was changed all the way until i put on glasses in T1, i'd look abit of a dick walking about with goggles on before the start of the event
  • AmyLGKAmyLGK Posts: 3
    wow thank you all so much for your replies!

    I went to the opticians at the weekend to ask their advice and they said that as long as I wear water tight goggles, which I have, and take out my lenses after swimming to rinse in saline solution, that should be sufficient to get rid of all the nastiness!

    I was so happy that I could do that for training purposes I completely forgot to ask about prescription goggles for race day! I was thinking getting some of those and then prescription sunglasses for the bike and run. Or, as already suggested, daily disposables for the race, then keep my goggles on till I can dry my face ensuring I don't get water in my eyes - but I also had thought that I'd look like a plonker running into T1 with them on - also, goggle restrict my view so knowing me I'll lose my bike if I do that

    I've never done a triathlon by the way so goodness knows how i'll actually be on race day!
  • JonhinioJonhinio Posts: 289
    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Optical-Lens-for-Eagle-Goggles/dp/B004HBVDLI/ref=pd_sxp_grid_i_0_1 I saw these in my local sport shop the other day. Don't know if they're of use?
  • Another monthly contact wearer here. I take mine out every night. I swim with goggles and have never had a problem so far. The best solution of all is laser eye surgery. I've considered it myself and know of a guy in my tri club that has had it done; he said it was the best thing he'd ever done. Obviously the cost is a large part of the decision but if you add up the cost of contacts over 2-3 years the operation will seem less expensive.
  • shadowone1shadowone1 Posts: 1,408
    so you pick up a thread thats yonks old and try and to spam it....

    do I nuke this???
  • BexHBexH Posts: 226
    Daily disposables and good goggles for me. Am pretty much blind without and don't think I'd fancy faffing about with prescription goggles / sunglasses. Do plenty of sea swimming and never had issues and I have been very prone to eye problems in the past pre tri...
  • As far as the matter of contact lens and swimming is concerned, I never used my contact lens at the time of swimming because it might fall and get damage. That’s why I generally use my swimming goggles which I have purchased from Contact Lens Heaven and it makes me more comfortable.

  • We'll I guess you don't need to change your contacts, you just need to wear disposables when you go swimming. Throw them away after swimming. The most sensible solution. But maybe there's are contacts that are safe when swimming. Maybe you should ask your optician.

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