Swimming can be a great way to cool down on a hot day or a good form of exercise but it can be hard on your eyes. Especially when chlorine get into your eyes and starts to burn. From wearing swim goggles to washing your eyes, keep reading to explore how to cure your eyes from the painful burn of chlorine.
What Causes Burning Eyes from Chlorine?
In a swimming pool, eyes can experience chemical conjunctivitis, which is a swimming pool induced case of pink eye. This version just causes irritation and will resolve on its own without treatment. The main cause of this is chlorine. Chlorine helps kill bacteria and control the algae in the pool water. Pools are open to contamination from all the swimmers and the air so along with the chlorine there are also other chemicals in the pool, such as iodine. The pH level of chlorine is one cause of burning eyes. The pH of normal water is seven and this is neutral. Anything below seven is considered acidic and anything higher than seven is basic.
Check pH Levels
The pool's pH must be at the right level in order for the chlorine to work. Ideally, in order for chlorine to be 100% effective against the bacteria the water will need to be at a pH of 6.5 but this would be too low for someone's skin to handle. At the level used in the pools, the chlorine can't break down the fats, oils, bacteria, and everything else in the water. If these compounds aren't completely broken down then they can also cause eye irritation. On the other side, an over-chlorinated pool can also mean irritation for the eyes.
How to Prevent Burning Eyes from Chlorine
When swimming, there are ways to protect the eyes during and after. Nobody wants to suffer from an eye infection or burning from the pool, especially when you're there to have fun. Here are different ways you can protect your eyes:
Wear Swim Goggles
Wear a pair of swim goggles every time you swim. Swim Goggles will keep pool chemicals out of the eyes and allow you to see underwater. There are a lot of options to choose from and it’s just a matter of personal preference. Be sure the goggles are watertight and have a strong seal when swimming. You may need to replace the goggles regularly since chlorine can also damage the straps and the watertight seal around the eyes. Make sure the goggles are comfortable so you want to wear them while you are swimming. You can choose goggles with dark lenses if you are swimming in a bright environment for some added protection.
Clean Eyes with Fresh Water
Splash some fresh water on your eyes after swimming. Make sure your eyes are closed when you do this. This will wash away the chlorine and other chemicals off your eyelashes and your eyelids to prevent them from lingering.
Over-the-counter eye drops before swimming can help keep your eyes comfortable and prevent some of the burning that occurs.
Gel tears work similarly to eye drops and can help your eyes from burning due to chemicals in the pool. The gel tears protect the tear film of your eyes and allow for thicker artificial tears. Use these in conjunction with your swim goggles for better protection. You can also speak to an eye doctor about prescription eye drops for this purpose.
Drinking plenty of water is important to avoid your eyes drying out and creating the burning feeling. You may need to drink some extra water when it’s hot at the pool and you don't notice yourself sweating.
Switch from Contact Lenses to Prescription Swim Goggles
Wearing your contact lenses in any water, including a pool, can put you at a risk for corneal infection. Bacteria can start growing on your lenses just after one swim. Since contact lenses stay in the eye for an extended period of time, the eyes are continuously exposed to whatever chemicals, fungi, parasites, and bacteria are on the lenses. This can lead to an infection, damage to the cornea, and loss of vision. When you are swimming, it’s best to avoid your contacts altogether. It may be possible to get contacts that allow you to still see in the pool and keep your eyes healthy in water. Water can change the way contact lenses fit so it’s best to avoid them. Try a pair of prescription swim goggles, customized with your exact RX from your eye doctor from Goggles N More!