By Lynne Adkins

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — If you’re heading to the pool or beach, leave your contact lenses in the case.

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Swimming or even showering in your contacts is a bad idea, according to Dr. Christopher Rapuano, Chief of the Cornea Service at Wills Eye Hospital in Philadelphia. He says wearing contacts into the water puts a patient at risk for infection.

“It increases your chance of general infection in the eye,” Rapuano says, “but there’s a specific infection caused by a parasite called acanthamoeba, and it’s a really potentially infection for the cornea and eye in general.”

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If your eyes get red and irritated for a few hours in the summer, it’s probably not a problem, but if the condition persists and there’s eye pain, see your doctor.

“I think they’re often not told that they should not swim in their lenses, I think it’s an education issue,” Rapuano says. “We tell all our patients not to swim in their lenses, not to use hot tubs in their lenses and ideally not to even shower in their lenses and that’s a hard sell for some people.”

And Rapuano reminds people not to forget your sunglasses before heading out for the day.

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