How Does Pool Chlorine Affect Your Eyes?

| By First Eye Care DFW

How Does Pool Chlorine Affect Your Eyes - First Eye Care DFW

Chlorine Can Impact Your Eyes

As we quickly approach summer, more and more people are going to be jumping into swimming pools to escape the heat. After all, pools are the best way to cool off and have a good time in the summer. As people begin flocking towards pools, it’s vital to remember the dangers pool chlorine presents to your eyes. While pool chlorine exists to ensure pool water remains clean to protect swimmers, too much contact with it can hurt your eyes.

Your eyes are sensitive, so even the smallest of irritants can impact them. While pools are excellent sources of entertainment, your eyes are still at risk. Eye safety is a vital part of all summer activities, and that includes swimming in pools. If you do not prioritize eye safety when swimming, you may experience discomfort or worse.

There are many great things about swimming pools. From escaping the summer heat to enjoying hours of entertainment, pools are perfect for the summer. However, the chlorine found in your pool can harm your eyes if you are not careful. First Eye Care DFW is here to help you better protect your eyes so that you can enjoy this time to its full potential.

What is Chlorine?

While some pools are saltwater pools, many rely on chlorine to keep them clean and safe from harmful bacteria and algae. Pool chlorine must be applied to swimming pools to ensure that no contaminants can harm swimmers or the pool. This chlorine solution will attack harmful germs and break them down.

Pool chlorine helps maintain the water’s pH levels, the potential of hydrogen. pH measures the acidity or basicity of any liquid, ranging on a scale of 0-14. Liquids less than 7 are acidic, while liquids above 7 are basic. Swimming pools should have a pH level between 7.4 and 7.6. Humans typically have a natural pH of about 7, which is deemed neutral.

While chlorine helps maintain this pH level, it can also affect your eyes if you spend too much time in it.

Dangers of Chlorine

Humans are not supposed to spend too much time underwater. Our bodies do not work well submerged. We need oxygen to survive, which we cannot get underwater. Additionally, our eyes also cannot function when submerged. If you have ever tried to open your eyes underwater without the help of goggles or other protective eyewear, you have probably noticed that everything is blurry.

The surface of your eyes is covered by a complex thin tear film. This film is responsible for keeping your eyes moist and hydrated while also protecting them from foreign bodies and other harmful substances. However, whenever you spend too much time in a pool, chlorine and other chemicals used to keep your pool clean impact this film. These chemicals wash away your eye’s tear film. With this tear film gone, your eyes will become irritated and red, while also leaving them without protection.

Pool chlorine can impact your eyes in many ways if you spend too much time in it. There are many conditions swimmers have developed after exposure to pool chlorine.

  • Dry Eye: Due to a compromised tear film, your eye is unable to produce quality tears, leading to dry eye.
  • Conjunctivitis: Conjunctivitis, otherwise known as pink eye, is another common eye condition many swimmers get. Without tear film, bacteria can reach your eyes and lead to an infection, such as conjunctivitis.
  • Parasitic Infections: While pool chlorine is supposed to eliminate any dangers before they reach swimmers, a pool will run out before the chlorine eliminates all threats. Parasitic infections, such as Cryptosporidium, can attack your eyes and lead to horrible outcomes.
  • Red, Irritated Eyes: This is rather tame compared to the others. Your eyes become dehydrated due to chlorine and the removal of your tear film. You may also experience temporary blurred vision.

Signs of Overexposure

You use your pool to have fun and to cool off in the summer. However, you must be aware of the issues that may arise when swimming for too long. If not, your eyes and vision may be at risk. Here are some common signs and symptoms of overexposure to pool chlorine:

  • Redness
  • Irritation
  • Blurred vision
  • Grittiness
  • Foreign body sensation
  • Light sensitivity
  • Teary eyes

Even though the threat of vision loss, whether temporary or permanent, is low, it’s still crucial to take steps to prevent any eye issues while swimming.

Protecting Your Eyes

As summer swiftly approaches, everyone must prepare for the activities at hand. Your vision is a vital sense, and your eyes are sensitive. Protecting your eyes from the dangers of pool chlorine should be a priority for all swimmers. Here are some useful ways you can protect yourself this summer:

  • Wear Goggles: Goggles are arguably the best way to keep chlorine from affecting your eyes. Many people choose not to wear goggles because they look silly or are uncomfortable. However, they serve an essential purpose. Goggles keep chlorine from reaching your eyes, thus keeping your tear film intact.
  • Rinse Your Eyes: After you’ve spent some time in any swimming pool, make a habit of rinsing your eyes, even if you wore goggles. Rinsing your eyes washes away chlorine and other chemicals from your eyelids and surrounding skin, eyelashes, and eyebrows.
  • Use Eye Drops: It’s common to experience some form of irritation even if you wear goggles. If that is the case, use over-the-counter eye drops before and after swimming to replenish and rinse your eyes. This helps maintain your tear film and ease discomfort.
  • Remove Your Contacts: If you wear contact lenses, remove them before entering any pool. Your contacts provide bacteria a surface to easily attach themselves to. Pool chlorine can also wear away at your contacts. Water can also get trapped between your lens and eye, increasing your risk for infection.

As we quickly approach summer, more and more people will be heading to swimming pools to cool off and have fun. While pools are a great way to enjoy the summer, they also present dangers for your eyes. Pool chlorine can lead to irritated eyes and other eye conditions. Contact First Eye Care DFW if you suffer an eye injury after swimming or need an eye exam.

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