Staying Fit By Hitting The Indoor Pool This Winter? What You Need To Know About Chlorine And Your Eyes  

If you enjoy hitting the indoor pool at your local fitness center during the chilly winter months, you’ve likely experienced eye irritation after going for a swim. Here, we’ll check out everything that you need to know about keeping your eyes safe as you dive into staying in shape while there’s snow on the ground.

Chlorine: How It Affects Your Eyes

First, it’s important to know that chlorine is an important part of your safety in the pool. Chlorine sanitizes the water and can protect your eyes (and the rest of your body) from many of the harmful pathogens that can breed quickly in a contained body of water, such as an indoor pool.

While chlorine does a great job of killing bacteria in the water, it can also strip away the tear film that keeps your cornea safe. This can leave your eye vulnerable to several issues, both in and out of the pool.

Swimmers may experience eye issues including:

  • Conjunctivitis: Also known as pink eye, conjunctivitis is easily spread through the water. Pink eye sets in quickly and can result in red, itchy, crusty eyes. Pink eye may be bacterial or viral. Luckily, pink eye is easily treated by an eye care professional.
  • Itchy and/or red eyes: Chlorine is drying, and the stripping of the tear film from the cornea can leave the eyes dehydrated and irritated. Some people may also experience blurry or distorted vision, but this normally goes away after a few minutes out of the pool.

Contact Lenses and Swimming

If you wear contact lenses, it’s incredibly important that you remove them before you go swimming in any body of water, not just indoor pools. A water-borne amoeba can get trapped between the eye and the contact lens, resulting in a condition called acanthamoebic keratitis. This can result in ulcers on the cornea and permanent eye damage. Wearing goggles isn’t enough to protect your eyes against this dangerous condition if you’re also wearing contact lenses.

Keeping Your Eyes Safe

To keep your eyes safe while you’re in the pool, always remove contact lenses before swimming. Wear a pair of high-quality goggles that fit well and don’t leak. Use eye drops to restore moisture to your eyes if necessary.

When To Call Your Eye Doctor

If you experience eye issues that don’t resolve shortly after you’re out of the pool, it’s important to reach out to your eye doctor. Many swimmers contract eye infections and other issues that are easily treatable. Reach out to your eye doctor today if you’re experiencing ongoing pool-related vision discomfort.