When you think back to summer as a kid, what do you remember most? Odds are, it’s playing in the pool! While the pool is always a fun way to cool down on a hot day, it’s important that you remember to protect your, and your kid’s, eyes while in a public pool.
The main risk to your eye’s health? Contacts. Though most people know that they’re not supposed to wear contacts in the pool, more than 60 percent of contact wearers admit to leaving them in while in the water.
But, why shouldn’t you wear contacts in the water you ask? Because contact lenses harbor microbes (microscopic bugs that are undetectable to the human eye) between a person’s eye and their lens — microbes that can cause an infection.
Safety Tips for Swimmers
- The best way to protect your eyes is to take your contacts out before any water activity.
- If you have to wear your contacts in the pool, you should dispose of them right when you get out.
- Whether you do or don’t wear contacts, it’s always best to wear watertight goggles when in water.
- Wash your hands after you leave the water, to avoid contaminating your eyes if you touch them.
- Use eye drops if your eyes are feeling dry or irritated. Lubricating eye drops also help keep your tear film (a clear layer over your eye) balanced.
- Drink plenty of water! Especially when out in the sun, drinking plenty of water will help keep you and your eyes hydrated.
Is There Something Fishy Going On?
Call your doctor if you experience any of these symptoms after having spent time in a public pool:
- Unusual dryness
- Overactive tear ducts
- Blurry vision
- Swelling around the eye
What’s one way you can avoid many of these problems altogether? By getting LASIK! Dr. Wasserman is an accomplished LASIK surgeon, pediatric ophthalmologist, and educator. As a certified AMO/VISX Excimer Laser surgeon, he performs LASIK refractive surgery for the correction of nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. He is also a board certified ophthalmologist and the Medical Director of New Jersey Eye Laser Centers at Princeton.