People who wear contact lenses are all too familiar with the process of removing them before bed. But did you know the shower is a no-wear zone, as well?
We recently turned to LensDirect—a one-stop shop for getting prescriptions, contacts, glasses and more—who put us in contact (get it?) with Dr. Jonah Berman, OD. The optometrist shared his insight on why it’s important to remove disposable lenses before showering, and it’s pretty alarming. Here’s what he had to say.
1. Can I shower with contact lenses?
Unfortunately, the answer is “no.” “Showering when wearing contact lenses is not recommended,” Dr. Berman told PureWow. “One reason is that water (even the most minute amount) will invariably get into our eyes no matter how hard we try to prevent this from happening.”
Not to mention, unfiltered shower water can contain harmful bacteria and chemicals. “Shower water contains minerals, chemicals, impurities, even microorganisms which are absorbed by the contact lens material and decrease lens comfort, quality of vision and even the longevity of the lens,” Dr. Berman continued. “Significantly, showering with contacts can provide possible exposure to waterborne pathogens, which could result in infection.”
2. What happens to contact lenses in the shower?
While showering, it’s common for people to squeeze their lids to avoid getting water in their eyes. This deprives the contact lenses of oxygen, according to Dr. Berman.
“The effort we expend in keeping our eyes tightly closed to try to keep water out, will exert some pressure upon the eye and the lens while it’s in our eye,” he said. “How hard we squeeze our eyelids and for how long determines how much oxygen we deprive our lenses (and therefore, our eyes), and how dry they may become.”
3. What are the long-term effects of showering with contacts?
The symptoms can be minor, so you might not even realize they’re being caused by the shower. However, most issues can be treated simply by following instructions—like removing your contact lenses before showering, swimming and other water-related activities.
“The long-term effects of showering with contacts range from blurry vision, ocular dryness, discomfort, burning, tearing, redness, even possible infection,” Dr. Berman explained. “The good news, however, is that all of these risks can be greatly reduced by first washing your hands (we should be experts at this by now), taking your lenses out and, using a recommended contact lens multipurpose solution, gently rubbing, rinsing and storing them to maintain their hydration and minimizing contamination when showering. Taking the short time to do these steps will help maintain your successful contact lens experience!”
Guess we’ll be adding “remove contact lenses before shower” to our daily to-do list.