Contacts are not FDA approved for water exposure and can start a vicious cycle where bacteria can grow on your contacts, in your eyes, and your contact case, which can turn into a breeding ground.
"When patients come in with what I think is infection, not only will I culture their cornea, I’ll ask them for their contact lens case because usually, it's breeding in their contact lens case," said ophthalmologist Dr. Sumitra Khandelwal.
In water contacts suction to your eye; not only does that make them hard to remove, but it can lead to a severe eye infection called Acanthamoeba, caused by tiny parasites infecting the eye leading to pain, redness and blurred vision.
The infection is difficult to diagnose, harder to treat, and can worsen quickly.
"Very devastating infection. People have lost eyes because of Acanthamoeba, permanent vision loss," said Dr. Khandelwal.
Unfortunately, since many people may have illnesses that deaden the nerve endings of their eyes, she says they might not feel the infection. So, the first signs of unusual color change, light sensitivity, a decrease in vision clarity, get to a doctor as soon as possible.
Wearing glasses can be uncomfortable, but it is the safer choice.
If you take your swimming seriously, there are inexpensive, corrective vision, swim goggles available in many styles and strengths.