Philip Walsh - The right way to wear your contact lenses this summer

Publish Date
Thursday, 21 December 2017, 1:35PM
Photo: Getty Images

Photo: Getty Images

By Philip Walsh

Knowing the right way to wear contact lenses is very important, especially when most Kiwis spend a lot of time outdoors during the summer months.

From not protecting against UV exposure to swimming in your contacts, wearing them incorrectly can prove to be a costly and potentially harmful mistake. 

New Zealanders know too well how damaging UV rays can be in the summer months. Daily sunscreen application is a step most New Zealanders follow, so why wouldn’t you add an essential level of protection to your eyes too?

Wearing contact lenses with UV blockers can help to protect your eyes from the harsh summer UV rays. Remember, a good pair of sunglasses should be worn in conjunction, as contact lenses with UV blockers alone are not a sufficient level of protection for your eyes. Without correct UV protection, there is risk of your ocular tissue being exposed to harmful UV rays. If this happens, cumulative effects can speed up the process of certain eye diseases such as cataracts.

Swimming is a Kiwi favourite throughout the sunny season, however it is important to ensure you remove your contact lenses before entering the water. Contact lenses are designed to sit in a solution with the same pH and salt balance as your tears. Chlorinated water has a higher level of salt content, which means if your contact lenses absorb pool water, the salt will draw the water out and leave you with dry, itchy eyes. 

Additionally and more importantly, contact lenses can absorb bacteria and chemicals present in the water. The bacteria will adhere to the contact lens and as a result, will remain in your eye until you remove your lenses, potentially hours later. This creates a greater risk of discomfort or infection which can potentially penetrate the cornea and cause permanent visual loss.

Regular swimmers need not to worry though - prescription swimming goggles are a great alternative, and can be purchased through your local Specsavers store. 

Visit your local Specsavers for more information about prescription swimming goggles or visit

About Philip 

Philip is an experienced optometrist with a Bachelor of Optometry from Auckland University. He’s worked in the UK, Zimbabwe and is now the Optometrist Director at the Specsavers New Lynn store in Auckland, one of 52 Specsavers stores across the country. 

Improving access for all Kiwis to high-quality eye care and eyewear is Philip’s passion. What he loves about his role at Specsavers is providing all his patients with excellent customer service and professional eye care with the latest technology and knowledgeable well-trained staff.

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