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3 Swimming Pool Eye Safety Tips


Time for summer swimming!

For many of us, summertime means a lot of trips to the backyard or community pool. And as awesome as swimming is during our hot, muggy PA summers, be sure you know how chlorinated water can affect your eyes, and educate yourself on the simple steps it takes to protect them.

ONE: Invest In A Good Pair Of Goggles

You know that burning, stinging sensation when you open your eyes underwater in a swimming pool?

That sting isn’t from the chlorine itself, but a compound called chloramine.

Chloramine forms when the chlorine in pool water reacts with dirt, urine, and oils that wash off into the water when people swim in it.

We know, it sounds pretty gross, but the chlorine is what kills harmful bacteria and makes it safe to swim.

Chloramine only causes a mild, temporary irritation for most people’s eyes, but you can avoid the sting (and protect yourself from eye injuries) by wearing a good pair of goggles.

Make sure to choose goggles that fit well so that they can form a tight seal over your eyes.

If you wear glasses or contacts, you can even get prescription goggles so you can see where you’re going when you’re in the pool.

TWO: Skip The Contact Lenses When You’re Swimming

Why get prescription goggles when you could just wear non-prescription goggles over your contact lenses?

That may seem like a logical solution, but it comes with risks.

There are a lot of harmful microorganisms that enjoy swimming as much as we do.

Chlorine kills most of them, but not all, and we don’t want those little critters anywhere near our eyes.

There isn’t much to worry about if you’re swimming without contact lenses, but when you do wear them, they easily trap microorganisms like acanthamoeba against our corneas, giving them the perfect warm, wet space to multiply.

These germs can cause dangerous infections or permanent blindness, and they live in even the cleanest bodies of freshwater.

Beyond that, contact lenses simply aren’t designed for underwater wear. They will more easily fall out, tear, or cause you irritation because soft contact lenses can shrink when exposed to water, which makes them tighten around the edges of your cornea.

The risks just aren’t worth it – you’re better off leaving your contact lenses at home and trading off between glasses and goggles when you go to the pool.

THREE: Pay Attention To Your Eyes

The last tip is pretty obvious, but pay attention to your eyes during and after your swim sessions. Are they irritated? Excessively red? If you’re swimming all day, you may need to take breaks from the chlorine. Keeping a good artificial tear on hand will help make them more comfortable as well.

Doctor’s note: If at any point after swimming you experience severe eye irritation, pain, sensitivity to light, or blurry vision, call us immediately. 

By taking these simple steps, you can protect your eyes and enjoy your summer. Happy swimming!


Want to purchase a quality pair of prescription goggles? Click here to request a consultation with one of our opticians.