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5 things you shouldn't do while wearing your contact lenses on the beach

Anna Sucha

Medically reviewed by Anna Sucha, Optometrist, on 24 Apr 2020
Written by Leonie Bauer

It's Summertime again and you may enjoy your well-deserved holiday!

If this is your first holiday as a contact lens wearer, you probably have a few questions about the practicality and safety of contact lenses.

So, are you going on holiday with contact lenses?

Contact lenses are ideal for active, adventurous people. Why should you wear glasses during the few weeks of the year when you just want to feel free and have fun? 

You don't have to. Your contact lenses can be a practical companion during your holidays. However, if you want to jump into the water while wearing them, you should definitely follow our five tips below.

Why? Well, because your eyes are particularly sensitive and contact lenses make them susceptible to bacteria. If you go into the water with your contact lenses on and want to splash around, the risk of a dangerous infection is very high.

1. Don't swim while wearing contact lenses

Generally speaking, you should not go into the water with your contact lenses in as they require particularly good hygiene

The water in swimming pools, rivers, lakes and oceans is home to an enormous amount of bacteria, viruses and microorganisms, many of which can be very harmful to the eyes. Even small amounts, like water splashes, can lead to infections.

If for any reason you need to swim with contact lenses, you should wear daily lenses along with waterproof goggles.

Daily disposable lenses give you the freedom to use contact lenses when swimming without having to clean or rinse them afterwards. All you have to do is put them in before swimming, wear waterproof goggles, and throw them away afterwards. 

The best daily lenses for your holiday

Tip: In general, we recommend waiting about 30 minutes before you remove the lenses after swimming. In a damp environment contact lenses tend to stick to your eyes and make it more difficult to remove them. After about 30 minutes they dry up and it becomes much easier.

Also, take spectacles with you so that you can enjoy your vacation time calmly. We also recommend using eye drops to relieve irritated eyes.

2. Don't dive with contact lenses

You should not use your contact lenses for diving, always because bacteria will eventually slip behind them.

Acanthamoeba, for example, are organisms that are present in many waters. When they come into contact with your lenses, they stick to them and this eventually leads to severe inflammation of the eye.

Also, contact lenses naturally absorb water, which can dramatically change their shape. A change in shape can make wearing them very uncomfortable and can distort and blur your vision.

If you wear waterproof diving goggles, you can continue to wear your contact lenses in an emergency. But again, wear well-fitting, daily disposable contact lenses that you can throw away after the dive. This will prevent contamination or infection of the eyes. 

3. Be careful with salt water, sand and high temperatures


Can contact lenses be damaged in combination with salt water, sand and high temperatures?

Unfortunatelly yes, in extreme situations lenses may become toxic for your eyes. In any case this combination will shorten the life of a lens. Small particles adhere to the lens, causing severe eye irritation and this can lead to infections.

Note: Please wear high-quality sunglasses. Studies have shown that the eye behind a contact lens can be more sensitive to light. By wearing sunglasses, you avoid tired and irritated eyes.

4. Do not take a shower when wearing contact lenses

Just like salt sea water or fresh water in lakes and rivers, tap water can contain bacteria.

If you want to wash after swimming and take a shower on the beach, please do not wear contact lenses.

5. Do not take a nap while wearing your contact lenses

If you doze off with your lenses in when you're at home, you don't run any serious risk. You might just have blurred vision and dry eyes for a short time as a result.

Yet, although we know how tempting it is to take a nap on the beach, we strongly advise against it.

On the beach it can be windy, scooping up sand that can lead to contamination and later infection.

Sweat can also drip from your forehead into your eyes and bacteria could reach your cornea.


The US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health describes in its glossary the prevalence of dangerous pathogens such as Acanthamoeba and the role of wearing contact lenses.

In their article, the authors of magazin describe the causes, symptoms and various treatment options for photosensitivity of the eyes.

Die Apotheken Umschau offers a detailed article about light-sensitive eyes and explains the connection to contact lenses and a wrong application.





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