Can I Surf With Contact Lenses?


Surfing is a rather thrilling experience that can sometimes be hindered by inconveniences such as weak eyesight. However, due to the fact that people can’t wear glasses in the ocean, other alternatives are a possibility.

For instance, surfers started wearing contact lenses while surfing, but is that the right decision? You’ll have to read to find out!

Should I Wear Contact Lenses While Surfing?

To put it simply, eye doctors never recommend surfing with contact lenses. It dramatically increases the risk of getting an eye infection. Unfortunately, however, people tend to break the rules for temporary pleasure.

If you do a little research, you’ll find that most surfers go into the water with their contact lenses on. But for you to do that, you should follow those tips:

1. Don’t Open Your Eyes Underwater

It’s pretty normal to get submerged underwater during surfing; however, it isn’t ideal if you’re wearing contact lenses. Accordingly, you should pay attention to keep your eyes closed underwater.

This will save you the annoyance of losing your contacts in the water, and you also won’t get seawater and sand caught in your eyes. However, the ocean’s waves have the potential to surprise you. So you should look out for them and close your eyes when a wave is going over your head.

2. Put On Daily Disposable Lenses

Daily contact lenses are a superb alternative to wear during surfing. They decrease the risk of getting eye infections, and they’re easier to use. Extended wear contacts already have a low risk of infecting your eye, and it gets higher when you’re in the water.

So it’d be best if you wear a fresh pair of daily contacts whenever you want to surf. Then, after you finish, you should clean your hands properly and take them out. Ideally, it would be best to use a saline solution to wash your eyes after taking the lenses out.

If you don’t have a saline solution ready, you’ll do well with artificial tears. However, if you find it easier to wear long-term monthly contacts, make sure you follow the hygiene steps closely to protect your healthy eyes.

3. Don’t Rub Your Eyes

While in the water, we all get an itching urge to rub our eyes. Generally, even when you aren’t surfing, you should avoid rubbing your eyes while wearing contacts.

If you do that, there’s a high risk that you’ll get saltwater and sand in your eyes, which isn’t a preferred situation.

Stay Away From Polluted Water

If you’re living in a city where sewage or storm drains run right into the ocean, then we have bad news for you. This contaminated water is often full of bacteria.

If you aren’t hygienic enough with your contact lenses, you’ll be in a bit of a pickle if you surf. That’s why it’s essential to research the beach where you plan to surf beforehand.

Preferably, you should avoid surfing in water bodies that are connected to these types of areas. You don’t want to risk vision loss or bacterial infections for temporary fun.

Wear Goggles

For a more practical option, try buying tight-fitting goggles and wearing them over your contacts. They have adjustable straps to keep your lenses intact; as a result, they won’t fall out if you decide to try duck diving.

They’ll also prevent contaminants like sand and salt from getting to your eyes. As a bonus point, they’ll provide your eyes with UV protection.

Alternatively, you can get prescription goggles or prescription sunglasses and forget all about surfing with contact lenses. They’ll provide you with perfect vision. However, they don’t work for all people. To know more about wearing glasses while surfing, click here.

Call Your Eye Doctor

If you feel any discomfort in your eyes after going surfing, you should immediately seek medical attention. Moreover, if your eyes feel funny while surfing, leave the water and contact your eye doctor because you may have an issue that’ll require attention. The symptoms you should watch out for are:

  • Swelling
  • Redness
  • Extra tears
  • Itchiness or burning
  • Eye pain
  • Blurred vision

It’d be a good idea to store your contact lenses somewhere clean until you get examined by your doctor. If there’s an infection in your eyes, they might benefit from knowing what’s on the lens, whether microbes or sand. Believe us; you don’t want to hear the horror stories about people losing their sight because of contact lenses.

What Happens if You Go In the Ocean With Contacts

If you insist on wearing contact lenses while surfing, you should follow the previous advice. First, however, we’ll tell you what will happen if you forget all about them.

First of all, contact lenses can easily absorb the saltwater. As a result, they trap viruses, pathogens, and bacteria that typically live in the ocean in the micro area between them and your eyes.

Second, if you wear contact lenses while surfing or swimming, you risk many eye issues that shouldn’t be taken lightly. For example, you may deal with eye irritation or dry eye syndrome due to the contacts sticking to your eyes.

Moreover, you may suffer from contact lens-induced abrasion, which is more common than you’d think.

Finally, on a more serious note, you may get eye inflammation or ulcers in your cornea. While most of these conditions aren’t severe, they may get complicated by time and lead to vision loss.

Final Thoughts

There’s nothing quite like the adrenaline rush that fills your body when you take your surfboard and ride the waves. However, if you’re wearing contact lenses, you should take care to surf in clean waters, avoid touching your eyes, and use goggles.

Now that you have enough information about the topic, you can surf safely!

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