When to wear or remove contact lenses

Contact lenses can be a convenient way to correct your vision, but they’re not suitable for all activities.

Your optometrist will advise you on the best contacts to suit your lifestyle and when to remove them to ensure you’re not at risk of irritation and infection.

We answer some common questions.

Can I wear contact lenses swimming?

No. Water can harbour dangerous bacteria and organisms that can cause serious eye infections. Swimming or showering with contact lenses in can not only make your eyes feel uncomfortable, it puts you at risk of potentially sight threatening conditions like a corneal ulcer.

Some people choose to wear goggles over their contact lenses while swimming, but the safest option is to wear prescription goggles.

If any water does get into the eyes while wearing contacts, remove the lenses and clean them (or dispose of them if they are single use) as soon as possible.

Can I wear contact lenses snorkelling?

There is little point in snorkelling if you’re struggling to see the beautiful fish and coral below. Some people wear a mask over their contacts, but the reality of snorkelling or diving is that water can easily get into the eyes. If you have contacts in - this may be a problem.

The best option is to wear a prescription mask, so you can see clearly and you’re not at risk of irritation or infection. You may be able to hire one that is as close as possible to your prescription, or if you do a lot of snorkelling or diving, it might be worth buying your own.

Can I sleep with contacts in?

Extended wear contacts can be worn for longer periods, including while you sleep. But even though some extended wear contact lenses can be worn for up to 30 days and nights, your eyes still need a break. You should always be guided by your optometrist on whether extended wear contacts are right for you and how long you should wear them for.

If your contact lenses aren’t specifically designed for extended wear or to be slept in, you should take them out and clean and disinfect them (or dispose of them if they are single use) every night to reduce the risk of infection.

Can I wear contacts while exercising?

Yes. Soft contact lenses are safe and usually more convenient while exercising or playing sport. Glasses might slip around your face during exercise or can cause injury if you’re hit in the face.

Disposable lenses are often the most convenient for active people on the move as you don’t have to worry about cleaning and caring for them.

We are here to help, ask your optometrist if you have any questions about contact lenses or book a contact lens fit or refresh today.