Wear goggles for clear & healthy underwater vision
You don’t swim naked at a public beach or swimming pool, and you shouldn’t swim with naked eyes either! At the beach, it’s hard to know if ocean water is really clean and not polluted, and the sand and salt content can make your eyes sting. If you prefer swimming in a pool, remember that while pool water can be clean, that’s only because it’s packed with chlorine, which can seriously irritate your eyes, stripping away your lubricating film and causing redness, pain, and blurry vision.
Goggles are the ideal solution for protecting your delicate eyes against the harshness of water. Also, due to advanced materials and modern engineering of the lenses in swim goggles, they provide crisper underwater vision than ever before! Your knowledgeable St. Louis eye doctor explains about the benefits and features of goggles:
If you normally need eyeglasses or contacts to see above water, our St. Louis optometrist strongly recommends buying a pair of prescription goggles for underwater vision. For you to see, light rays reflect off an object, enter your eyes, and are focused on your retina clearly. However, light rays don’t function the same way when they are in water. That’s why the floor of a swimming pool appears higher up than it really is. In general, goggles correct this problem by creating an air-filled gap around your eyes. But this doesn’t give sharp sight to swimmers who need vision correction. If you have nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism, you’ll need prescription goggles to see.
Wearing contact lenses and standard goggles
A lot of people are in the habit of wearing standard goggles over their contact lenses, instead of purchasing a pair of prescription goggles. What’s the problem with this? Actually, water is the problem.
Water in all bodies – lakes, pools, oceans, and hot tubs – is a natural breeding ground for bacteria and microorganisms. While your body and your eyes have a built-in defense system to protect against these menacing microbes, contact lenses interfere with your eye’s protection. Consequently, swimming with contact lenses increases your risk of getting an eye infection.
Acanthamoeba keratitis is an extremely hazardous eye infection caused by amoeba being trapped between your contact lens and your cornea. Sometimes, amoeba start to live in your eye, leading to corneal ulcers and permanent vision loss. This type of infection only happens to people who wear contact lenses, which underscores our St. Louis eye doctor’s warning against swimming with contacts!
Now, we also realize that many people will insist on wearing contact lenses at the beach or pool – despite all of our warnings. If you’re one of those people, here are some tips to help you minimize the danger to your eye health:
- Wear daily disposable contacts for swimming, since you throw them out after a single use. Remove them immediately after you come out of the water, rinse your eyes with artificial tears and replace your lenses with a new, clean pair.
- Even if you’re didn’t fully dip into the water, if any drops fall into your eyes, remove your contacts immediately and throw them out, or disinfect them if you aren’t wearing disposables.
- Never open your eyes underwater
- Never go swimming and then doze off on the shore or poolside with your lenses still in your eyes
Top features for goggles – recommended by our St. Louis optometrist
- Prescription lenses, if you generally need eyewear with vision correction
- Shatterproof lenses
- Anti-fog treatment
- Leak-free lenses that seal comfortably around your eyes
- Built-in UV protection
- Surfers should wear polarized lenses to protect against reflected glare, which can be very intense on the water
- Competitive swimmers and divers should choose frames with a low profile
- Recreational lap swimmers do best with larger lenses (they give wider peripheral vision), and more padded frames
More questions about swimming and vision? Ask our St. Louis eye doctor!
Before you dive into the blue, sparkling waters at the beach or swimming pool, consult with an expert optometrist near you. We’ll help you find the safest way to have sharp underwater vision and a fabulous look! If you do experience irritated eyes, strange discharge, pain, sensitivity or redness after wearing your contact lenses while swimming, contact us immediately for an eye exam at Vision Care Consultants.