Swimming And Your Eye Health

Swimming And Your Eye Health

09 Jul 2021

Swimming! It’s one of the best parts of summer. There’s nothing like a dip in the pool when the humidity is raging and you’ve been in the hot sun. However, while the pool water has a soothing effect on your skin, it can have the opposite effect on your eyes, leading some avid swimmers to experience a stinging or burning sensation. Let’s take a look at how swimming affects your eye health and what you can do to prevent irritation and long-term damage.

How Bad Are Pool Chemicals For Your Eyes?

Everyone’s eyes feature a complex tear film, made from several smaller layers, which work perfectly together, keeping your eyes lubricated and functioning properly. Exposing your eyes to chlorine in a pool throws these layers into disarray, causing your tear film to evaporate and leaving your eye exposed to harmful bacteria and chemicals.

Most experts agree that you should always wear goggles while swimming to minimize your exposure to chlorine. Even if you do decide to wear goggles, it’s also a good idea to rinse out your eyes with fresh water immediately after a swim. This ensures you’ll get rid of any chemicals clinging to your eyelashes and eyelids. If you are still feeling some irritation, you can try over-the-counter artificial tears to provide some relief.

Do You Suffer From Dry Eye?

If your eyes regularly experience irritation after a swim, you may also suffer from dry eye syndrome. It’s the most common vision disorder affecting adults in North America. This condition is triggered by low tear production, which can get even worse when your eyes are exposed to certain elements such as extreme heat, extreme cold, over-use of contact lenses and yes, swimming. You can also consult an ophthalmologist who can diagnose dry eye syndrome and prescribe special drops or other treatments to provide relief.

Is It Okay To Wear Contacts In The Pool?

Some swimmers prefer to wear contact lenses, claiming that they can see much better in the water. However, studies have shown that contact lenses are a prime breeding ground for bacteria, especially when exposed to underwater conditions. Contact lenses may also dry out faster underwater, leading to extreme discomfort. So, if you’re going to pop in your contact lenses for a swim, be sure to disinfect them directly afterwards. Serious swimmers worried about compromised vision could also ditch the contacts in favour of prescription goggles.

So, whether you’re doing laps at the local pool or going for a morning dip in the lake at your cottage, take care of your eyes and pay attention to any discomfort. Remember to consult your eye care professional because they know exactly what drops or eyewear can address your issues specifically