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How to Protect Your Eyes While Swimming

Think About Your Eyes Before Jumping Into the Pool This Summer

July 5th, 2018

Summer Splashes Can Cause Harmful Damage 

There is no better way to beat the heat than by taking a splash into a cool, crisp swimming pool. When we hit the pool, we often follow the rules of no running, no diving, wear sunscreen, but what about the rules to protect your eyes?

Swimming can be hard on your eyes and cause a symptom called swimmer’s eye—irritation and redness from the water’s chlorine—and can eventually lead to damaging infections or conditions.

If you are planning on heading to the pool this summer, keep reading to learn about the harmful effects from swimming pools and how you can prevent them.

The Harsh Effects of Swimming Pools

Swimming pools mainly affect the tear film in your eyes. Tear film coats the surface of your eyes and allows them to stay moist and clear. But chlorine and other pool chemicals wash it off and give us those red, itchy eyes while swimming. And if this happens consistently—say swimming in a pool every day of the summer—it can lead to dry eye syndrome.

Without your tear film, your eyes can also get infected or damaged from all the bacteria and chemicals floating around in the water. Even worse, if the bacteria survive the chlorine, it can cause pink eye, also known as conjunctivitis.

How to Protect Your Eyes While Swimming

So, to prevent swimmer’s eye, dry eye syndrome or pink eye putting a damper on your summer pool days, here are our top four tips to swim safely while still having fun:

Wear goggles. You may think that goggles are just for professional swimming, scuba diving or snorkeling, but any time you splash into a pool, you should wear protection. Goggles are the ultimate protection from chlorine and pool chemicals. There are also goggles made with SPF protection found in some retail stores.

Splash off your eyes. Every time you get out of the pool, try to get into the habit of washing your eyes off with fresh water. The water will wipe away any residual chlorine or chemicals on your eyelashes and eyelids. On top of that, it will soothe your eyes if they are irritated or red from the pool water.

Use eye drops. To help keep your tear film balanced, use artificial tears or eye drops before and after swimming. And just like fresh water, they will help reduce any irritation and redness from the chlorine.  It is best to use a preservative-free drop, but there are other artificial tears on the market such as Refresh or Blink.

Drink plenty of water. Dehydration can hinder tear production and disrupt your tear film. Without your tear film, you will be even more susceptible to the bacteria living in the pool. While the pool cools you down, it does not hydrate you. Don’t forget to take short breaks and drink up some H2O.

If you have any more questions about keeping your eyes safe and healthy while swimming around this summer, contact Dr. Logan at Logan Eye Care in Lake Mary, Florida.