Think before you dive in, is the advice for glasses and contact lens wearers. It follows a recently publicised case where a 28-year-old woman lost the sight in one eye after contracting an infection while wearing contact lenses and swimming in her local pool.
The condition in question was Acanthamoeba Keratitis, a rare, but serious infection of the eye. It has prompted the British Contact Lens Association (BCLA) to issue advice on swimming with contact lenses.
BCLA president, Dr Catharine Chisholm, commented: ‘Thankfully it is extremely rare for someone to develop an eye infection as a result of their lenses coming into contact with water – and even less common for this to result in a loss of vision. However, infections of the cornea can be very serious and are most commonly associated with patients not following the instructions for lens care and wear given to them by their eyecare practitioner.’
The BCLA suggests contact lenses should not be worn for swimming or other watersports unless wearing tight-fitting goggles over the top. This advice extends to showering and use of hot tubs. As and when contacts are removed it recommends that they should be cleaned and disinfected in fresh solution before putting them back on the eyes.
The BCLA recommendation is that regular swimmers must talk to their eyecare practitioner about being fitted with daily disposable lenses for use with goggles whilst swimming. They stress that wearers of daily disposable contact lenses should always discard them immediately after swimming.