Swimming and Eye Health

Swimming is one of the most popular summertime activities for individuals of all ages. It’s not only fun, but it is also a great way to exercise and even relax. Although swimming offers several benefits for those involved in the sport, it can be hard on your eyes.


Whether you’re involved in competitive swimming or going for a leisurely swim in your pool, you may have experienced the effects of swimming on the eyes. Stinging, burning, and redness can occur when salt or chlorinated water gets into your eyes.


In this article, we’ll explore the effects of swimming on your eye health and how you can keep your eyes safe.


How Does Water Affect Your Eyes?


There are several reasons why your eyes can get irritated while you’re swimming. Since water contains bacteria and micro-organisms that can be dangerous to your health, most swimming pools use chlorine or saline solutions to keep swimming water safe. Sure, these chemicals keep your water clean. But they can be hard on your eyes.


Pool Chemicals and Your Eyes


The surface of your eyes is protected by a thin layer called the tear film. This thin layer keeps your eyes moist, clean and lubricated. When your eyes are exposed to chemicals in the water, they can temporarily wash away your tear film, leaving your eyes red and dry.


Extended exposure to these chemicals can make your eyes feel uncomfortable and lead to more permanent damage. If your pool water isn’t maintaining the proper ratio of chemicals to water, you can deal with damaging effects on your eyes. Frequent swimmers have a condition known as “dry eye.” This prevents your eyes from producing tears. Even if you do produce tears, the quality and quantity of your tears can be affected. This condition is also referred to as “swimmer’s eye.”


If your eyes are red, burning, itchy, or watery, you should avoid contact with chemically-treated water until the issues resolve. Both over-the-counter and prescription eye drops can help alleviate your symptoms. You can also contact your eye doctor for treatment options.


Other Effects of Swimming


In addition to pool chemicals, you can experience the effects of bacteria on your eyes from swimming. One of the most common eye infections swimmers experience is Conjunctivitis or Pink Eye. When water isn’t properly treated for bacteria, you can also experience adverse effects on your eyes. If you own a swimming pool, be sure you use the recommended ratio of chemicals to the water to keep your pool clean and avoid eye issues.


Other ways to help avoid the effects of swimming on your eyes are:


  • Don’t wear contact lenses while swimming.
  • If you do wear contacts, be sure to clean them once you’re done swimming. Lenses can be a breeding ground for bacteria.
  • Wear goggles to protect your eyes from chemicals and bacteria.
  • Rinse your face and eyes with clean, cool water when you get out of the pool. This will help remove chemicals and bacteria from your skin and eyes.


Contact Antelope Valley Eye Care to Schedule an Appointment


If you need a reliable eye doctor in Palmdale, we’re here to help! Contact Antelope Valley Eye Care to schedule an appointment to discuss your eye health and swimming!


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