Going swimming? Mind the eyes and ears

Swimmers are being advised to look after their eyes and ears while taking a dip to help minimise risk of infection.

Tuesday, 18th May 2021, 11:35 am

Lockdown has seen a surge of wild and cold-water swimmers taking to our seas, lakes and rivers. Now with restrictions lifted and pools reopened, there are many more opportunities to swim.

While it is a really healthy activity, the experts at Specsavers are sharing their tips and advice on how to best look after our eyes and ears when swimming to ensure infection doesn’t set us back.

Joanne Torrens, audiology director for Coleraine Specsavers says: ‘For most, a little water in the ears won’t be a problem but extra care should be taken for those susceptible to ear infections or swimmer’s ear.

“Swimmer’s ear is an inflammation of the external ear canal that can often lead to an infection. It occurs when water becomes trapped in the ear, most often as a result of swimming, and the best way to avoid it is to wear ear plugs. And always steer clear of polluted or dirty water to avoid infection.”

Contact lens wearers should also be cautious when swimming. Coleraine Specsavers optometry director Judith Ball, warns: ‘You should avoid wearing your contact lenses while swimming as there is a risk of serious infection if you wear them in a pool or the sea - prescription swimming goggles are a good alternative. It’s also important to always wash your hands with non-cosmetic soap before handling contact lenses, never use tap water to rinse them, and never put contact lenses in your mouth. Microorganisms can also live in distilled water, risking infection or sight damage.”