Can You Surf With Contacts? 5 Reasons Why You Should Not

Surfing is tedious, not only in terms of handling the ocean and the waves but also with respect to the wind, sand, sun, and other obstacles such as corals, rocks, and piers. Good eyesight is a huge advantage when navigating all these factors, especially during wipeouts when you have to stay underwater for several seconds.

All this can affect even normal eyes, so we can only imagine how hard it would be for someone with poor eyesight to consider wearing contact lenses to see better while hitting some waves. 

Contacts carry a huge risk factor

Most professionals will agree that surfing is not a lens-friendly sport. Here are a few reasons why contacts should be avoided when surfing:

1. Contacts and water are a bad combination

While an attractive option for those surfers who could benefit from corrective lenses, the FDA or Food and Drug Administration strictly prohibits their use while in contact with any kind of water, be it distilled, bottled, ocean, or lake water. This is because lenses are supposed to be sterilized and washed with a special sterile saline solution and not just any kind of liquid. 

2. They can fall out

The ocean can be tumultuous and so while you are underwater with contact lenses on and open your eyes, you can lose them in an instant. 

3. Irritation due to particles

Sand or other particles can easily get stuck in your eyes, causing irritation. If this becomes serious, you may also lose your vision temporarily. The worst part is that while you might be tempted to rub your eyes on certain occasions to try to get rid of the irritation, this can cause further damage. 

4. You’ll have to keep your eyes shut while underwater

Ocean water contains not only sand and debris but also microscopic organisms such as bacteria and viruses. All of these can either cause damage, irritation, or infections. In order to make sure that your contacts don’t come in contact with these agents, you need to keep your eyes firmly shut when in contact with water. Of course, there’s a downside to this. You won’t be able to see anything and this might severely limit your ability to perceive your environment.  

What to do instead?

Get a pair of prescription surf goggles. Luckily, they are available in the market and you can get them custom-designed to have them fit comfortably. A huge benefit of these is that they keep your eyes shielded from the water, potential microbes, and sand and ensure that you can see optimally for a perfect surf session. 

If you must wear contacts, opt for the disposable ones instead. However, even with these, make sure that you rinse your eyes thoroughly using a saline solution as often as possible so that you don’t get your eyes irritated or develop an infection. 

If you get a serious eye irritation or infection, make sure that you contact a healthcare professional immediately to get the issue resolved. Remember that your eye health is more important than leveling up in surfing. 

James Davis

Written by James Davis

I'm a true California local, and I've spent my life riding the waves along our stunning coastline. Surfing has always been my greatest love, and in my writing, I try to capture its genuine essence. My words aim to transport you into the heart of the surf culture, where the ocean and surfers come together in perfect harmony.

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