General Discussion Triathlon Talk » Contact Lenses during swimming/racing?? Rss Feed  
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2018-01-25 11:41 PM

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233
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Ventura, California
Subject: Contact Lenses during swimming/racing??

I am considering getting contact lenses since I am near sighted and have difficulty sighting during the swim. I also want to be able to wear the sunglasses all the cool kids got It would be nice to just get rid of the glasses during races so I don't have to worry about losing them, or damaging them during the race.

Today after all my eye exams in discussing with the Dr. he informed me that contacts are hydrophillic (water absorbing/attraction) and that by getting them wet with ocean/lake/pool water and then continuing to wear them I run a elevated risk of an eye infection. He says if I do wear them during a race I should remove them after exiting the water and use my regular glasses during the bike and run. 

While I don't mind doing this during training, I am not sure I want to risk messing with my eyeballs in transition during a race with salt water on my hands, possible sand contaminants from pulling off the wetsuit etc..seems kinda pointless to get into the cost of contacts if they are going to be that temperamental and cause potential eye infections while using them during my sporting activities.

I know there is inherent risk to anything so I am not trying to avoid that risk but I would like to get some feedback from other contact wearers and their experience with training and racing with contacts. 

Also if you wear contacts during swimming, do you have any issues/reactions with anti-fogging products such as towelettes/sprays? 

Thanks,
Robert



2018-01-26 5:35 AM
in reply to: rjcalhoun

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Subject: RE: Contact Lenses during swimming/racing??
I've done a lot of triathlons including halfs and full IM's with contact lenses. Never had any issues. Swimming in both salt and fresh water. Just use good goggles that don't leak.
2018-01-26 6:32 AM
in reply to: rjcalhoun

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130
10025
Subject: RE: Contact Lenses during swimming/racing??
I wear contacts. I always use dailies and have a spare or two if needed. I've had goggles flood during a race (kicked during swim). I've even had a mask flood during scuba and I have never needed to switch them out mid race. I did change them out about mid day because they felt like they were drying out after salt water exposure and very irritated. However, they did well for over 5-6 hrs after salt water exposure.
2018-01-26 8:32 AM
in reply to: rjcalhoun

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Master
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Overland Park, KS
Subject: RE: Contact Lenses during swimming/racing??
I've been racing for 8 years with contacts. Pool swims 3x/week and races up to full IM never had an issue.

I wear Aquasphere Kayenne goggles for OWS and Speedo Vanquisher in the pool. Both have been very solid.
2018-01-26 9:25 AM
in reply to: rjcalhoun

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Member
216
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Haymarket, VA
Subject: RE: Contact Lenses during swimming/racing??

I wore contacts during races and pool training for a couple of years before finally getting Lasik with absolutely no isssues.  Given the fact that I only wore contacts during those times and would rely on my glasses all others my eyes were already sensitive to the contacts as it was, but there were no addt'l problems due to water exposure.  As was already mentioned, just get yourself a good pair of goggles that don't leak, and if you do use any chemicals (anti-fog) prior to a swim be sure to rinse the goggles out thoroughly.  

2018-01-26 12:54 PM
in reply to: mleech77

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Master
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Rochester, NY
Subject: RE: Contact Lenses during swimming/racing??

I've worn contacts while swimming for 15 years or more.  Raced tris for years with contacts.  I would bring my glasses and keep in my bag in case of emergency, but it never occurred.  

I now only race in swimming.  And I do not wear contacts while at a swim meet.  I lose my goggles too often going off the blocks.  But for open water and tri swims?  Practice swims?  I wear contacts.



2018-01-26 7:10 PM
in reply to: rjcalhoun

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233
10010025
Ventura, California
Subject: RE: Contact Lenses during swimming/racing??

Thanks for all the insightful replies. I am going to go forward with the contacts and look forward to the freedom of not having to worry about my glasses and most importantly being able to see during the swim. 

Thanks again for all the informative information.

Thanks

2018-01-28 3:13 PM
in reply to: rjcalhoun


137
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Subject: RE: Contact Lenses during swimming/racing??
i have to wear hard contacts due to a eye disease and corneal transplant. never had a issue. im not a dr and not giving medical advice, but would think you would have a bigger issue losing them if water got in your eyes than a infection. losing contacts is a major concern of mine
2018-01-28 4:57 PM
in reply to: rjcalhoun

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Master
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Bellevue, WA
Subject: RE: Contact Lenses during swimming/racing??

Your doctor's recommendation about contacts and swimming is uninformed BS.  I have never heard of such a thing from an eyecare professional.  

This is my 16th season as a triathlete, with countless laps in the pool, 11 Ironmans in oceans and lakes, 10 half Ironmans, etc.  All wearing my contacts.  I have never lost a lens or had any sort of infection.  I carry a Ziploc bag with spare contacts, hand wipes, and eye drops in my race gear on the bike.  I have never had to use it.

I've worn contacts for the last 36 years; -6.0 correction for nearsightedness and in recent years astigmatism correction. I wear Accuvue Oasis extended wear contacts. These are the kind you can sleep in and I generally do most nights.  They recommend you give your eyes a chance to "breath" overnight once or twice a week, even with extended wear contacts.  They are also supposed to be replaced every two weeks with a new pair.  They are not expensive, a few hundred for contacts for the year is well worth it.

My eyes are wind-sensitive which can be common even without wearing contacts.  I always wear sunglasses to bike or run, even clear or yellow lenses in the dark.  Otherwise my eyes will water like crazy, and then I'll run out of tears, and have terrible dry-eye.  Even with eye protection, a long day of Ironman length racing (12-14 hours) will dry out my eyes and I'll be using eye drops and re-wetting solution in the evening.

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