Is It Good to Open Your Eyes Under Water?
I’ve never been a great swimmer, except underwater. For some reason, I find it challenging to see how fast and far I can travel while completely submerged!
But, there’s just one problem with my underwater swimming. I hate opening my eyes under water. And, since I wear my contact lenses most of the time, I’m pretty sure it’s not good for me to open my eyes underwater (without goggles that is), with my contact lenses in.
So, I did a little research to see if it was ok for people to expose their eyes to water.
Here’s what I found out.
For when you don’t have your contact lenses in…
If you are in a swimming pool, you should expect that opening your eyes underwater may actually hurt! Some people experience a burning sensation within one to two minutes of total exposure as the chemicals in the water tear away at the first layer of your cornea. Yikes!
Second, my research also discussed that the various particles in the water may not be desirable to have in or around your eyes. Even the cleanest water has “stuff” in it that you can’t see.
Wearing goggles while you swim will prevent irritation and protect your eyes from possibly damaging chemicals or other materials in the water.
If you are wearing your contact lenses in the pool or ocean…
Contact lenses should never be worn in a pool, lake, river or ocean. Opening your eyes underwater could change the shape of your lenses (and potentially render them unusable).
People who swim with their contact lenses are also at a greater risk of contracting a bacterial infection anytime water gets in their eyes. One such eye infection is Acanthamoeba keratitis. If left untreated, this infection could lead to vision loss or blindess.
Your safest bet is to leave your contact lenses at home or take them out if you plan on swimming. Opt for wearing eyeglasses that day instead and if you want to open your eyes underwater, wear goggles.
Another option…prescription goggles…
If you are serious about swimming or are involved in competitive sports that involve swimming (tri-athletes for example), then you may want to ask your optometrist about getting some prescription goggles. This way you won’t risk losing a contact lens in the pool or changing the shape of your lenses. If you prefer to keep your lenses in so you can see when you get out of the pool, then just be sure to invest in a high quality goggle that fits correctly and seals air tight the whole way around your eyes.