Many people are afraid of the unknown in deep water. It’s understandable that some of us prefer to keep our eyes open when swimming underwater to protect ourselves from potential harm, whether it’s pinching a crab or stubbing a toe on a forgotten pool toy. Without proper protection, however, our eyes are vulnerable to irritation, redness and even infection.
Often times, lots of persons prefer to spend the hot summer days in the swimming pool. But even though the water is usually clear with chlorine, it doesn’t mean you should look underwater. The next time you go diving, reconsider opening your eyes underwater.
“Chlorine is a pretty strong disinfectant and can actually damage the cells of the outer layer that protect the cornea”, says an expert optometrist.
An occasional look should be fine, but prolonged opening of the eyes under water can cause damage. In addition, the eye becomes red and irritated. You might become photophobic, meaning sensitive to light. Your vision might be a little blurry, and your eyes will feel irritated or even, frankly, painful.
When we open our eyes under water we subject ourselves to irritation, injury, or infection
Of the milder side effects that can occur, burning and discomfort are not uncommon after swimming in a chlorinated pool. Depending on the pH level, too much contact with chlorine can cause eye irritation, but that’s not the only cause. Swimming pools contain relatively small amounts of chlorine to kill potentially harmful toxins. However, this is not enough to combat our body’s natural byproducts. Our body’s oils and fats are dispersed in the water and have been known to cause eye sensitivity and irritation.
More serious potential consequences of swimming with eyes open include infection and vision damage. Microorganisms and bacteria are found in all bodies of water. Whether it’s the above-ground pool in your backyard or a saltwater ocean, they can cause serious infections. Certain pathogens can even cause diseases like Acanthamoeba corneal infections, which can lead to blindness. Also, if you wear contact lenses, bacteria have the opportunity to become trapped in the lenses.
Can you go blind from chlorine?
Chlorine gas reacts with the water at the eye and forms hydrochloric acid, which can cause blindness. The chlorine in swimming pools is a safer combination of hypochlorous acid and hypochlorite ions. However, these can react with urine, sweat and byproducts in the water to form chloramines that cause irritation.
Can chlorine dry out your eyes?
If your eyes feel dry after swimming, there’s a good reason. Chlorine actually removes water from the cornea. Eyes become red, feel irritated and may be temporarily blurry. Usually, this type of irritation can be resolved over time; it usually disappears shortly after leaving the pool.
Why do I have blurry vision after swimming?
Our eyes become blurry because the cornea is swollen by chlorine or salt water. These irritants can also cause the eyes to become red and dry after swimming. One way to relieve this irritation is to use moisturizing eye drops, which you can purchase from your eye doctor.
Is swimming pool water bad for your eyes?
When your eyes are immersed in chlorinated swimming pool water, the tear film that normally serves as a protective shield for your cornea is washed away. This means that your eyes are no longer protected from dirt or bacteria, which are not completely eliminated by the treated water. As a result, swimmers can be susceptible to eye infections.
Can you go swimming with an eye infection?
If you have an eye infection, you should not go swimming in a community pool with conjunctivitis. Pink eye is very contagious and other swimmers could get the same infection. Other summer eye care tips for people with pink eye: If you’re not sure what’s causing your conjunctivitis, see your eye doctor.
Safe Practices to Safeguard your Ocular Health
To protect the health of your eyes, experts stress the importance of properly protecting your eyes while swimming. Medical professionals recommend wearing well-fitting swimming goggles or keeping your eyes closed when swimming underwater. Also, be sure to dispose of any contact lenses that come in contact with the water. This way, you can enjoy a relaxing swim in warmer weather while preserving your vision.
In summary, whether you are a beginner swimmer, an aspiring swimmer, or just want to swim in the pool for fun this summer, it is important that you always wear goggles to protect your eyes when in the pool. Swimming goggles are an absolute must when you are in the pool.
Read an interesting article about how healthy a rain bath is, here