From chlorine-rich swimming pools to seasonal allergies triggered by freshly cut grass, it’s a cruel joke that the makings of a kickass summer go hand-in-hand with the most uncomfortable eye situations. Here’s how to troubleshoot while you’re in the moment to make sure the scratchy and annoying side effects don’t get in the way of summer spontaneity.
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If you’re a contact lens wearer, you inevitably think twice before taking the plunge. “There’s a big controversy of what you should do,” says Louise Sclafani, O.D., director of optometric services at the University of Chicago. (Can you swim in lenses? Can you not swim in lenses?) “The contact lens is meant to be in a solution with the same pH and salt balance as your tears,” she says. “Chlorinated water has a higher salt content, so the water from the contact lens will be drawn out.” You’re left with—you guessed it—lenses that feel awkward and dry. “We recommend is single use lenses—ones you put on in the morning and throw out when you’re done swimming,” she says. Wear goggles if you’re swimming in contact lenses and if you’re a competitive swimmer, spring for a pair of prescription goggles, she says.