Swim safe: How to keep your eyes safe while swimming

Don’t we just love our summer swimtime? While swimming is a fun and refreshing activity, it's important to protect your eyes from the harmful effects of chlorine, saltwater, and the sun's UV rays. Read on to find some tips on how to take care of your eyes while swimming.
Eye care tips to follow while you swim. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock
Manasvi Jain Updated: 17 Oct 2023, 06:31 pm IST

Ah, the joys of swimming in the summer! There’s nothing quite like diving into a refreshing pool or splashing around in the ocean waves to beat the heat. But before you cannonball into the water, have you thought about protecting your eyes? As much as we love the water, it’s not always kind to our eyes. Here, we’ll dive into how to protect your eyes while swimming in summer and avoid common eye problems that can arise if you don’t.

Eye problems caused due to swimming

If proper precautions are not taken while swimming, several eye problems can arise. Here are some common eye problems that can occur if you do not take care of your eyes while swimming, especially in chlorine-treated water.

1. Chlorine irritation: Chlorine is commonly used to disinfect pool water, but it can irritate your eyes.

2. Swimmer’s eye: Also known as swimming pool conjunctivitis, it is a type of conjunctivitis that can occur after swimming in chlorinated or contaminated water. Swimmer’s eye is caused by bacteria or viruses that can enter the eye while swimming. If left untreated, a swimmer’s eye can lead to more serious eye infections, such as corneal ulcers or even vision loss.

3. Dry eyes: Swimming in chlorinated or salt water can cause dryness in your eyes, leading to irritation and discomfort.

Use of eye drops will protect you from dry eyes after swimming. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

4. Corneal abrasion: If you rub your eyes while swimming, you can scratch the cornea, causing a corneal abrasion.

5. UV damage: Exposure to UV radiation from the sun can cause damage to your eyes, including cataracts, macular degeneration and corneal sunburn.
If proper precautions are not taken while swimming, several eye problems can arise and hence, it is important to take steps to protect your eyes while swimming to avoid these problems and maintain good eye health.

How to protect your eyes while swimming?

1. Wear goggles

The most important thing you can do to protect your eyes while swimming is to wear goggles. Goggles create a barrier between your eyes and the water, preventing irritants like chlorine and salt from getting in. A study published in the Journal of Ophthalmology found that wearing goggles during swimming significantly reduces the risk of developing swimmer’s eye or other ocular surface disorders caused by pool water.. They also help to keep your eyes moist and reduce the risk of infection. The study also recommended wearing goggles with UV protection to prevent UV damage to the eyes

You must protect your eyes with goggles while swimming. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Also read: Summer eye care: Protect your eyes from the harsh heat wave

2. Use lubricating drops

Chlorine and saltwater can cause dryness and irritation in your eyes. Using lubricating eye drops before and after swimming can help to keep your eyes moist and reduce the risk of infection. Choose eye drops that are specifically designed for swimmers and do not contain preservatives.

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Also read: My mom says using gulab jal for eyes can keep them clean and healthy

3. Take breaks

Swimming for long periods without taking a break can strain your eyes. The previously mentioned study also found that taking regular breaks during swimming can reduce eye fatigue and prevent eye strain. The study recommended taking a 10-minute break every hour of swimming.

4. Shower before swimming

Before entering the pool or the ocean, take a shower to rinse off any sweat or bacteria on your body. This will help to reduce the amount of bacteria in the water, which can cause infections in your eyes.

Take shower before and after your swim to protect your eyes. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

5. Avoid rubbing your eyes

If you feel an itch or irritation in your eyes while swimming, avoid rubbing them. Rubbing your eyes can transfer bacteria and irritants from your hands to your eyes, increasing the risk of infection.

Seek medical attention for eye problems after swimming

If you experience any symptoms of eye irritation or infection, seek medical attention immediately. Symptoms can include redness, itching, discharge, or blurred vision. Delaying treatment can result in serious eye damage or even permanent vision loss.

In conclusion, taking care of your eyes while swimming in summers is crucial to prevent eye irritation and infections. By following these tips, you can enjoy your summer swim without compromising the health of your eyes. So, grab your goggles and let’s make a splash!

Manasvi Jain

Manasvi Jain is a professional writer with a keen interest in spreading awareness about various health and wellness issues through her articles. She writes well researched articles by connecting with various doctors and health experts. ...Read More

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