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Swimming is a popular, fun and energetic pastime be it in a chlorinated pool, the salty sea or natural fresh water lakes but if you don’t protect your eyes you could be risking infection and irritation.

All public swimming pools contain high levels of chlorine to kill any harmful bacteria. When exposed to the eyes, this can cause redness and irritation. Goggles will help to avoid sore, itchy and red eyes as well as any discomfort during each swimming session.

It’s also not easy to tell what else is lurking in the water that could result in damage. For example, items such as plasters or grit may enter the water and potentially make contact with the eye, and who knows what you may find in the sea or a freshwater lake! Here again, goggles can offer the perfect protection and prevent debris from causing infection or irritation to your eyes.

An unclean swimming pool can be the cause stomach upsets, ear and eye infections. There can be any one of 30 different bugs in a swimming pool including the harmful bug, Acanthamoeba, which can attack the surface of the eye, causing painful inflammation.

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If you swim with your eyes open and wear contacts, chances are, they will fall out or more worryingly be contaminated with a splash of pool water! Finding a contact lens on dry land is hard but in the water is almost impossible. If you wear contact lenses in the pool and lose them you won’t be able to see when you try to get out of the water either.
Some people try to swim with their glasses on, but this still doesn’t protect your eyes from the chemicals and other unknowns in the pool. It can also cause corrosion and damage to the spectacle frames. If you worry about not being able to see without glasses or contacts but want to see while in the pool, consider prescription goggles.

With all of the above in mind, it would be advisable to wear goggles to swim in order to prevent eye infection, irritation and to have better clarity of vision while swimming. Most competitive swimmers choose to wear goggles to avoid the effects that swimming with your eyes open can have. Anyone spending an extended period of time in the water should really protect them with goggles.

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Saagar Hirani, Head Optician at Edmonds and Slatter follows the British Contact Lens Associations advice letting all his patients know not to wear contact lenses for swimming, in hot tubs, whilst showering or participating in water sports UNLESS wearing tight-fitting goggles over the top. Ideally these lenses should be daily disposable ones that are discarded immediately after swimming.

If you would like any swimming goggles, with or without prescription lenses, or contact lenses, please contact Edmonds and Slatter Opticians in Blaby, Glenfield or Lutterworth where they will be more than happy to help you.