Sorry, but you shouldn’t be showering with your contact lenses in your eyes. Water and contacts don’t mix well together, even if you’re just bathing at home.

We know that a hot shower is perhaps one of the most relaxing parts of the day, and all you want is to step inside and get squeaky clean. But optometrists everywhere agree: You should take your lenses out first. 

So, why is it bad to wear contacts in the shower? We’ll go over why this behavior is risky for your eyes and the effects it can have on your ocular health. 

Showering With Contacts In: Why Is It Bad?

According to the CDC, exposure to water can have various negative effects on your contact lenses and eyes. First and foremost, showering with contacts in boosts your risk of contracting an eye infection. That’s because microbes found in shower water can adhere to your lenses and find their way into your eyes. If your cornea has been scratched or damaged, germs will have even easier access. 

We know it’s a bit unsettling to think about, but these potentially harmful microorganisms are present in almost all kinds of water, including the water that comes from your showerhead. 

Additionally, water exposure can cause soft lenses to change shape, stick to your eye, or swell uncomfortably. Any of these outcomes can lead to more than just irritation—they can also damage the surface of your cornea (the clear dome that protects the front of your eyes, where your contact lens sits). 

You may now be asking the next logical question: Can I shower with contacts in if I close my eyes? In theory, closing your eyes may prevent water and bacteria from entering them, but it’s not a guarantee. Also, showering with your eyes closed sounds dangerous! (How will you tell the difference between your shampoo and conditioner bottles?) Please just take your lenses out.

What Happens if You Shower With Contacts In? 

Showering with your contacts in can cause many different symptoms, from mild irritation to severe infection. Be on the lookout for any of the following signs: 

  • Eye pain or soreness
  • Dry or overly watery eyes
  • Feeling like something is stuck in your eye that you can’t remove
  • Blurry vision
  • Sensitivity to light

If you’re experiencing any of the above symptoms after showering with your contacts in, address them immediately with your optometrist. Untreated infections can become increasingly dangerous to your eye health and even cause blindness.

Can You Shower With Daily Contacts In?

No, you should not shower with daily contacts still in your eyes. Daily contacts are disposable, so you can throw away the lenses and then put in a fresh pair once you finish your shower. No need to risk an eye infection! 

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Can You Shower With Extended Wear Contacts In? 

All types of contact lenses, including extended-wear contacts, should be removed from your eyes before showering to prevent complications.   

Even though extended-wear contacts can be worn for multiple days at a time, you’re still putting your eyes at risk for infection or irritation if the contacts become wet. (Always consult with your optometrist if you have questions about extended-wear contacts and their hygiene.) 

What Should You Do if You Showered With Contacts In?

If you accidentally showered with contact lenses in, your lenses may have bent, swollen up, or become stuck to your eyes, making removing them difficult and potentially painful. Before taking out your contacts, consider lubricating them and wetting your eyes using saline eye drops. (But first, always check any eye drops you buy to make sure they’re approved for use with contact lenses!)

After moistening your eyes, remove your contacts immediately. You can either throw away the lenses or disinfect them before wearing them again—but this all depends on the type of contact lenses you have. 

If you do plan to reuse your lenses, disinfect them in the appropriate solution overnight to really get them freshened up. And don’t forget to clean your contacts each time you handle them!

Where Should You Put Your Contacts When Showering?

Before you get in the shower, it’s important to store your lenses properly (if they aren’t disposable dailies) so they don’t get damaged. For this reason, we advise you to take out your contacts and keep them in a secure case with fresh contact solution, just like you would overnight. 

Cleaning your contacts before and after storing them will further disinfect the lenses and prevent bacteria from gaining a foothold. 

Is It Okay To Shower With Contacts In? Say It With Us: Nope.

To recap: Contacts and water don’t mix. When wearing contacts, keep them away from water to prevent discomfort, infection, and other eye issues. Even if you’ve showered with your lenses in before and didn’t experience any problems, that still doesn’t make it a good idea. If you forget to take your lenses out before a shower, take them out as soon as possible, and contact an eye doctor right away if you notice any eye-related symptoms.

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