If you are a contact lens wearer, you may have already thought about rinsing your lenses with water to clean them during the day. However, in order to properly maintain them, nothing can replace the liquid specifically designed for your lenses. You can safely drink tap water, but the situation is quite different when it comes to your lenses. Below are a few reasons why you should never put your lenses in direct contact with water, either by rinsing them or even by wearing them in the shower or in the pool.

Contact Lenses Are Like Sponges

Contact lenses absorb water as well as all the particles that are in it when they come in contact with it. Thus, your eyes can become contaminated with soap or shampoo particles in the water, because the lenses trap them in. A hot shower can also dehydrate your lenses and shrink them, making them uncomfortable. The lenses will then be more difficult to remove because they will adhere firmly to the cornea. A lens that gets stuck to the cornea can easily scratch your eye, which in turn can make it prone to bacteria that cause eye infections.

Avoid Serious Eye Infections

Did you know that some eye infections can cause blindness? This is the case of acanthamoeba keratitis. This eye disease is contracted by the contamination of the lenses with water, even when it is drinkable. Symptoms include sensitivity to light, pain and blurred vision. Acanthamoeba keratitis can seriously affect the cornea and be very difficult to treat.

Contact lenses soaked with water also dry the eyes more easily, causing mini-lesions. These facilitate the passage of bacteria that can lead to infections. To avoid direct contact between water and your lenses, be sure to remove them before jumping in the shower or in the pool. This will reduce the risk of contamination. The same recommendation applies for lakes and rivers, where the dangers of infection are even greater.

Long-Wear Lenses: Should They Also Be Removed Before Going into the Water?

To avoid removing their lenses before going to sleep, some people opt for long-wear lenses. They can be worn for up to thirty consecutive days. However, optometrists recommend removing them before going in the shower, to reduce the risk of contamination. In fact, the risks of getting an eye infection by putting your contact lenses in contact with water are the same for these contacts as with other types of lenses.

In order to maintain your contact lenses, one of the most important tips is to avoid contact with water. Remember to remove your lenses before taking a shower or a bath, or going to the pool or spa. Another tip to avoid contaminating them, is to wash your hands before putting them on or taking them off and, to make sure that your hands are dry before manipulating them, so as not to leave water droplets on your lenses.

Do you have questions about the maintenance of your contact lenses? Do not hesitate to contact your Optometrist or Optician at an IRIS store near you!