WHY DO SWIMMING POOLS BURN YOUR EYES?
Swimming pools are typically sanitized with saltwater or chemically treated with chlorine. Chlorine helps eliminate harmful bacteria and other foreign agents that can build up in a body of water, especially when it’s exposed to a large amount of people. While this is helpful in preventing the subjection of people to germs, it does make your eyes vulnerable to pain. Chlorine can affect the proteins that build up the protective tear layer on your eye. When you get out of the water, your eye is exposed to air and irritated by the dryness, causing you to experience a burning sensation.
PREVENTING AND TREATING CHLORINATED EYES
First of all, if you wear contacts, take them out before swimming. Contacts can be manipulated out of shape by any pool water or lost, potentially causing harm to your eyes. To protect your eyes against chlorine, the best solution is to wear goggles. You may be a frequent swimmer who can tolerate the burning from chlorine, but you should understand that your eyes are still irritated from the breakdown of the tear layer. Even if you don’t feel the pain, you should still protect your eyes with swimming goggles. If you swim without goggles, you can treat your eyes with anti-inflammatory eye drops that can help keep your eyes lubricated while the tear layer reforms.
SHOULD YOU SEE A DOCTOR IF YOUR EYES KEEP BURNING
Typically, the burning sensation fades after a short amount of time because your eyes’ tear layer rebuilds quickly. Most pools have a safe amount of chlorine, so the irritation will likely be minimal. If you add too much chlorine in a pool, the pH levels can upset your eyes even more, and your eyes may burn for longer than a day. Any persistent burning or irritation should be checked by an eye doctor because it can indicate a more serious problem or may be the sign of another eye condition.
Are your eyes sore from a constant burning sensation? Call Silverstein Eye Centers today to make an appointment for an eye exam.