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Can you shower with contact lenses in?

Written by Lentiamo on 24 May 2023

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Showering in contact lenses carries a number of potential risks and should be avoided. Water can introduce harmful bacteria to your eyes which can lead to irritation, infections, and even vision loss.

Removing your contacts before showering or bathing is the best way to avoid potential problems. Even if you keep your eyes tightly closed in the shower, water may still find its way to your lens.

In this article, we'll explain some of the reasons why showering with contact lenses is a bad idea. We'll also offer some tips to help you maintain healthy eyes while wearing contacts. Let's dive in!

Why can't you wear contact lenses in the shower?

close up image of person putting in contact lens

Simply put, water and contacts don't mix well. Since soft contact lenses tend to absorb water, showering or swimming in contacts causes them to swell, distorting the overall shape of the lens. This often leads to blurred vision and discomfort.

Moreover, water can carry harmful parasites and bacteria. Acanthamoeba keratitis is a serious infection caused by the amoeba called Acanthamoeba. This infection can be very harmful and potentially lead to vision loss. Symptoms of Acanthamoeba keratitis may include:

  • Red eyes
  • Eye pain after removing your contact lenses
  • Excessive tearing or dry eyes
  • Light sensitivity
  • Blurred vision
  • A feeling that something is in your eye

Properly disinfecting and cleaning contact lenses is an important step in keeping your eyes safe.

Where should you put contact lenses while showering?

person's face under showerhead

All types of contact lenses should be removed before showering or bathing. Daily disposable lenses can simply be thrown away without the need for cleaning and storage. Bi-weekly, monthly, and extended wear lenses should be stored using contact lens solution.

Try establishing a routine around inserting and removing lenses to make it easier to remember to remove contacts every time you shower.

Pro tip: Remove your lenses and store them in a multi-purpose solution. You'll be able to insert your lenses when you're done showering. Hydrogen peroxide solutions take longer to clean lenses and can burn your cornea if the solution isn't properly neutralised over an extended period of time. On the other hand, the hydrogen peroxide solution makes the total cleaning process more efficient. So keep this in mind when you want to shower and clean your contacts at the same time.

What happens if you shower with contact lenses?

Water can cause contact lenses to change shape, swell, or stick to the eye. This can be uncomfortable and lead to irritation and symptoms such as red eyes. A poorly fitting lens can also increase the risk of scratching the cornea, which makes the eye more susceptible to infection.

Furthermore, water can cause contact lenses to move around or become dislodged, leading to discomfort or losing the lenses down the drain.

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What should you do after showering with contacts?

If you've accidentally showered in your contact lenses, dry your hands and carefully remove the lenses. Remember that the water may have caused your lenses to warp or stick to your eyes. Try not to tug or peel the lenses off the eye if they're stuck. If this happens, use eye drops approved for use with contacts to lubricate the lens for easier removal.

You can dispose of daily lenses immediately and put in a fresh pair. If your eyes are irritated, wait until irritation subsides before wearing any lenses. Bi-weekly, monthly, and extended wear lenses should be cleaned and disinfected before inserting them back into your eyes. If your contacts have swelled or changed shape, they likely won't return to their original state. Therefore, warped lenses should be thrown away and replaced to prevent discomfort or eye injury.

Frequently asked questions

Can I wash my face with contact lenses in?

It's generally not recommended to wash your face with contact lenses in. Water and lenses should never come in contact because of the risks associated with germs and infection. Additionally, soap and other products may adhere to lenses, causing irritation or discomfort.

What is Acanthamoeba keratitis?

Acanthamoeba keratitis is a rare but serious infection of the eye. Caused by a microorganism called Acanthamoeba (commonly found in water sources, such as tap water, well water, hot tubs, and soil and sewage systems), acanthamoeba keratitis can lead to permanent vision loss or blindness. Symptoms of Acanthamoeba keratitis may include red eyes, eye pain, tearing, light sensitivity, blurred vision, and a feeling that something is in your eye.

Can I shower with extended lenses?

No, extended wear contact lenses should be removed prior to showering to prevent potential complications and severe infections. Although continuous wear lenses provide the convenience of sleeping in your contacts, any type of lenses should be removed before showering, bathing, or swimming.

Closing thoughts from Lentiamo

Remember that mixing water and lenses can lead to irritation and infections. Therefore, showering in contacts is never recommended. We understand there may be instances where lens wearers forget to remove them, of course! So we hope this guide is helpful in keeping your eyes safe and healthy. 

If you've forgetten to remove your lenses while showering and symptoms such as redness or soreness persist, contact your eye care specialist for prompt treatment to rule out any potential issues.



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