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Keep Your Eyes Cool in the Pool

Keep Your Eyes Cool in the Pool

Long days in the summer spent playing in the pool are fun, but the end results can leave you with blurry, red eyes. Whether you enjoy swimming in the water or soaking in the sun at the pool, you may have experienced having red, irritated “swimmer’s eyes” after being in the water for a few minutes. 

While chlorine is needed to keep the pool clean, it can be harsh on the eyes. 


The chlorinated water washes away your eye’s tear film, compromising the natural lubrication of your eyes. As a result, your eyes become dry, irritated, and even inflamed. 

Before you go to the pool, here are a few ways to keep your eyes cool in the pool. 

How Chlorine Causes Irritation

The average swimming pool is treated with chlorine to keep it as clean as possible. However, it might surprise you to know that chlorine doesn’t make the water entirely germ-free. 

Aside from the fact it can actually strip the protective tear coating from your cornea, if you swim a lot, you may find yourself experiencing infections. One of the most common infections related to swimming is conjunctivitis. 

Conjunctivitis is caused by either a virus or bacteria in the water. Symptoms include redness, swollen eyelids, blurred vision, or leaky discharge from the eye. 

To relieve symptoms, use saline to flush out the eye, apply a cold compress, and call or visit the eye doctor’s office to ensure that there’s not something more serious going on. 

Use Lubricating Eye Drops After Swimming

If your eyes feel dry after swimming, there’s a reason. Eyes get red, irritated, and cause temporary blurriness from chlorine. 

Generally, this type of irritation goes away shortly after you get out of the pool. It can take eyes longer to recover the older you get, but certain eye drops can help build the tear layer faster. 

Choose eye drops that lubricate your eyes, instead of the ones that promise to get rid of redness. 

Remove Contacts Before Swimming

If you wear contacts, you should always remove them before swimming in any kind of water. The water could damage your lenses, change shape, rip, fold in your eye, or even get washed away. 

Contact lens wearers are especially susceptible to acanthamoeba keratitis, which often occurs when a specific kind of water-borne amoeba gets trapped between your contact lens and your eye. 

If you develop this infection, it can ultimately impair vision or even cause corneal ulcers. You should be safe and take out your contacts before you ever enter the pool. 

In addition, if you accidentally swim with your contacts in, discard them. Daily lenses are a great option, as you can simply toss the old pair and put in a new pair after your swim. 

Wear Water-Tight Goggles When Swimming

Whether you are a beginning or aspiring swimmer or just considering going out to swim in the pool for fun this summer, it is important that you always wear goggles for eye protection while in the pool. 

We cannot see properly while underwater without some type of eye protection. Goggles are used to help protect our eyes from being in contact with water and allow us to see properly while in the water. 

Water-tight goggles especially can prevent water from coming in contact with your eyes, keeping your tear film intact and protected against infections. The important thing is to find goggles that fit and are adjustable to fit your head and face properly. 

Choose goggles that are able to comfortably fit around your head but should be tight enough to stay on while swimming. If the goggles create deep rings around your eyes or give you a headache, then they are too small or are fitted too tight.

Asheville Vision and Wellness

Removing your contacts and bringing your goggles are the best things you can do to protect your eyes while you swim. 

For help or questions regarding summer eye protection, do not hesitate to contact Asheville Vision and Wellness. We have over thirty years of experience helping patients protect their eyes and improve eye health. Our staff is always happy to assist you with all of your eye care needs. Give us a call or book an appointment today.