Connecticut Corneal Specialist on Eye Health & Contact Lenses

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Connecticut Corneal Specialist on Eye Health & Contact Lenses

Connecticut Corneal Specialist Leslie Doctor, M.D. reminded us to be sensitive to how swimming with contact lenses can affect your eyes, eye health and vision. “It is important to have some knowledge about how swimming with contact lenses can affect your eyes, eye health and vision,” commented Dr. Leslie Doctor of Doctor & Associates with Fairfield County offices in Westport, Norwalk and Wilton, CT. “Summer typically means lots of water, pool and beach activities for all of us”, she said. 

In general, unless you are wearing goggles it is best not to swim with your eyes open under water and, when possible, to avoid splashes of water into your eyes. Pool chemicals that keep the water clean and free of contamination may actually be irritating and even damaging to the surface of the eye. Maintaining the proper pH levels in swimming pools takes considerable monitoring and effort and as the pH varies so does the possibility of eye irritation. Your natural tears have a pH of 7.0, if the pH of the pool water is below or above that level that level, it will certainly cause your eyes to burn or sting. The proper pH level for swimming pools is in the range of 7.2 to 7.8. If the pH is maintained within this range, burning eyes shouldn't be a problem for swimmers. 

“We really recommend that if you plan on spending any lengthy period of time in the water you should protect your eyes by wearing goggles. Swimming with contact lenses is not a good idea and is very risky,” she further explained. 

The eye health risk of swimming with contacts depends on the body of water you are in. “Swimming in lakes and rivers while wearing contact lenses poses a significant risk of the microorganism Acanthamoeba to adhering to your contacts. As a corneal specialist I can tell you that Acanthamoeba Keratitis is a severe and potentially blinding infection and inflammation of the cornea-and one that is difficult to treat,” stated Dr. Leslie Doctor. This same risk is present when wearing contacts in hot tubs or spas. While the risk of sight threatening infection is lesser in properly chlorinated swimming pools and the ocean, other problems may be encountered. In the pool--eye irritation is possible when chlorine sticks on the surface of your lens and in the ocean--your contact lenses can be dislodged when you encounter large waves. You need to carefully consider whether to wear contact lenses while swimming. Keeping your head out of the water and wearing goggles will help to greatly reduce risk. 

If you are concerned or inconvenienced by not being able to see clearly without glasses or contacts and want to see clearly while in the pool or ocean, you may wish to consider LASIK as a vision correction method so as not to be dependent on eyeglasses or contacts for swimming. 

If you or someone you know has questions about swimming, swimming pools, eye health, vision and contact lenses please feel free to call Doctor & Associates-203-227-4113, visit Doctor & Associates in Fairfield County or

Doctor & Associates is a leading Fairfield County Connecticut eye care practice providing eye examinations for adults and children, cataract surgery and intraocular lens implants (IOL), laser vision correction such as LASIK, diagnosis and treatment of cornea disease including cornea transplants, diagnosis and management of diseases of the retina including diabetes and age related macular degeneration and diagnosis and treatment of glaucoma as well as contact lenses, eyeglasses and optical services. For those patients in need of eye surgery, as a founding member of the Wilton Surgery Center, Doctor & Associates eye surgeons are able to provide eye surgery in a convenient, close to home and cost effective ambulatory surgery center. Whatever your eye care, eye health or vision correction needs might be-Doctor & Associates can serve as a Connecticut ophthalmic consultant and will be conveniently located for patients from Fairfield County and southern Connecticut including Danbury, Stamford, Greenwich, Westport, Weston, Wilton, New Canaan, Norwalk, Fairfield, Bridgeport, Cannondale, Aspetuck, Redding, Trumbull, Shelton, Monroe, Darien, Glenbrook and Ridgefield Connecticut. M