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Eye Safety Tips For The Pool

The summer is a wonderful time to relax and enjoy ourselves, but that doesn’t mean we can slack off on eye safety.

No matter what kind of summer water activity you like best, make sure to follow these safety tips to keep your eyes healthy and protected while you’re underwater.

Always Wear Goggles

Have you ever wondered why your eyes sting when you open them in the pool? It isn’t actually because of the chlorine, but because of the compound that forms when chlorine reacts with all of the contaminants that get in the pool.

This compound is chloramine, and it might be gross to think about how it forms, but it only causes temporary irritation most of the time. Goggles will protect against this, and they’ll also make it easier for you to see so you can avoid hazards, such as the edge of the pool or a friend’s flailing elbow or foot!

Leave The Contact Lenses At Home

Most people probably only think it’s a bad idea to wear contact lenses in the pool because they could lose them in the water. It’s certainly a possibility, but it isn’t the only downside. Soft lenses aren’t meant to be in water, because it makes them shrink. When they shrink, they tighten around the cornea, which can be very uncomfortable or even damaging.

Unfortunately for us, we aren’t the only ones who enjoy swimming in the pool. Many different species of microorganisms do too, and we don’t want those little critters getting in our eyes. The chlorine in public pools does kill most of these microorganisms, but it doesn’t get them all.

Wearing contact lenses in the pool (or any other body of freshwater, including your bath or shower) provides a petri dish for these microorganisms to thrive in. Germs become trapped against the eye, where they will multiply and cause infection. The worst is acanthamoeba, which can actually cause permanent blindness.

Your Optometrist Can Help You Gear Up For The Pool!

Leaving your contacts behind and bringing your goggles are the best things you can do to protect your eyes while you swim. You might even consider getting prescription goggles so that you’ll still enjoy clear vision underwater. As for your shore time, make sure you have good, UV-blocking sunglasses! Don’t hesitate to come to your local Vision Source® member optometrist if you have questions or need recommendations on goggles or sunglasses.

We hope all Vision Source® patients have a wonderful summer!

Find a Vision Source® practice near you using our search tool.

Top image used under CC0 Public Domain license. Image cropped and modified from original.
The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Author Vision Source — Published July 16, 2018

Posted In Eye Health Awareness