If You're Doing This in the Shower, Doctors Say to Stop Immediately
This common practice could actually result in irreversible problems.
When it comes to your personal hygiene, you probably have your morning and nightly routines down pat by now, without giving them much thought. Unfortunately, if you're on autopilot, you might not realize that there is one thing you could be doing while showering that could cause irreversible damage. Read on to find out what you shouldn't do in the shower, and for more everyday things you may be doing incorrectly, If You're Swallowing Your Medication With This, Stop Immediately.
Doctors say don't wear contact lenses in the shower.
If you're getting in the shower while still wearing your contacts, you could be in for a world of problems. Charissa Lee, OD, head of North America Professional Affairs at Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, Inc., says it is "essential to remove contact lenses before taking a shower." That's because, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warns, your contact lenses should never come in contact with water.
So it's not just a shower that could cause you harm. Ora Esfahani, OD, director of optometric services at the Southern California Eye Institute, says you should remove your contact lenses before swimming or using a hot tub, too. And for more on washing up correctly, find out The One Body Part You Shouldn't Wash in the Shower, Doctors Say.
Water may contain harmful germs that can cling to your contacts.
Gabriela Olivares, OD, an optometrist with VSP Network Eye Doctor, says that water from sources like showers, hot tubs, and pools contains all kinds of germs, including acanthamoeba, which is known as the "eye eating amoeba." According to Seamus Flynn, an optometrist and co-owner of eyewear brand Sapphire Eyewear, this bacteria can cling to your contacts if you are wearing them in the shower.
"If you are not wearing any contact lenses and your eye comes into contact with acanthamoeba, your natural blink reflex is enough to wash it away," Flynn explains. "If you are wearing contact lenses, however, the bacteria can remain on the lens." And for more up-to-date health news, sign up for our daily newsletter.
Some of these germs can result in serious eye complications, including blindness.
Acanthamoeba can cause a rare, but very severe type of eye infection called Acanthamoeba keratitis, according to the CDC.
"Acanthamoeba keratitis is extremely painful and difficult to treat. Once in your eye, acanthamoeba releases proteins that dissolve the cornea," Olivares warns of the transparent, protective outer layer over the front part of your eye. "The worst acanthamoeba keratitis infections can result in blindness." And for more on your eye health, This Is Why You Shouldn't Lie to Your Eye Doctor About Floaters.
Water can also cause your contacts to stick to your eye.
According to the CDC, water can also affect contact lenses by causing them to change shape, swell, and stick to your eye, which may not only be uncomfortable but can also scratch your cornea. These scratches can result in "microscopic breaks in the surface, making it easier for germs and microbes to cause an infection" like Acanthamoeba keratitis, Lee says. And for more showering tips, check out These Are the Only 3 Body Parts You Need to Wash Every Day, Doctor Says.
Take your contacts out immediately if they do come in contact with water.
If you accidentally get in the shower while still your wearing contacts, Olivares recommends that you "immediately close your eyes and carefully step out of the shower until you can remove the lenses correctly." If you did come in contact with any dangerous germs, "once the contact lens is removed, bacteria or other germs are more likely to be removed by themselves since nothing is holding them onto your eye, such as your contacts," Esfahani explains.
According to Lee, you should only remove and touch your contacts with dry hands, so if your lenses do come in contact with water, you should "throw them away or disinfect them with a proper contact lens solution." Some signs that your contact lenses have negatively interacted with water and harmed your eyes may include soreness, redness, blurred vision, or other unusual symptoms, Olivares says. If you experience any of these issues, you should talk to your doctor as soon as possible. And for more topics you may need to bring up to your MD, If You're Taking This OTC Medicine More Than Twice a Week, See a Doctor.