Rx Optical Blog Image Swimming Pool Eye Safety 06.17.19

Eyes Burning? Swimming Pool Eye Safety Tips

Summer weather is synonymous with fun in the sun. On days when you don’t have time to make it to the lakeshore but still want to cool off, pools are the obvious way to go.

Whether you prefer to jump in, cannonball, or float, it’s extremely important to keep your eyes and vision protected. You’ve probably noticed that while pools are great, you can sometime walk away from them with irritated eyes.

Irritated eyes are very uncomfortable and can ruin a day of fun in the sun. Luckily for you, our team of doctors is here with helpful tips to keep your summer fun going swimmingly.

Danger of Pool Chemicals

Many pools use chemicals to keep the water clean and sanitary. However, these same chemicals can be very dangerous to your eyes and vision.

Coating the surface of your eyes is something called a tear film. This is a thin layer of tears that protects your eyes from irritants.

Chemicals found in pools, especially chlorine, can wash away the moist layer of tear film. This can irritate your eyes. There are a few different health concerns that can develop from this exposure to pool chemicals: swimmer’s eye, dry eye, or pink eye.

Swimmer’s Eye

Swimmer’s eye is the most common of the three health concerns and most recognizable. Symptoms of swimmer’s eye include:

  • Redness of the whites of your eyes
  • A stinging or burning sensation
  • Light sensitivity
  • Blurred vision

Dry Eye

If you experience dry eyes and spend a lot of time swimming in a pool, this can sometimes be attributed to the chemicals washing away that thin layer of tear film. Symptoms of dry eyes include:

  • The feeling of grit in the eye
  • Blurry vision
  • Not producing enough tears
  • Not producing the right kind of tears

Pink Eye

When chemicals wash away the thin layer of tear film, eyes are left fully exposed to all the pool chemicals and any lingering bacteria. Bacteria that survive on your eye can lead to an eye infection, most commonly, pink eye.

  • Common symptoms of pink eye include:
  • Redness of the whites of your eyes
  • Changes in eye discharge
  • Burning or itching eyes
  • Blurred vision

Protect Your Eyes

Goggles are an important part of taking care of your eyes in and around pools. Goggles create a barrier against harmful pool chemicals while also keeping your tear film healthy. Did you know you can get prescription goggles?

After you get out of a pool, be sure to wash your eyes immediately with fresh water. While it might seem fun to lounge in the sun after you’re done swimming, that won’t help to keep your vision and eyes protected. Washing out your eyes with fresh water will remove chlorine and other chemicals from your eyelids and eyelashes.

You should also stay hydrated while swimming, no matter if you are swimming for leisure or for a workout. You can also help to keep your eyes moist and comfortable by drinking water during your pool day.

If you begin to experience eye discomfort after swimming in a pool, it’s always smart to con-tact your doctor. We know how to treat your eye irritation and can help you avoid future eye problems. Reach out to our team of doctors today to learn more!