UPDATES TO OUR COVID-19 POLICY: All encounters, including glasses pick ups, frame selects, exams, and follow-ups, are by appointment only. Please call our text our office and we will work with you to arrange a time for you to come in. Masks are required in our office. If you do not come with a mask or face covering, we will provide you with one before entering. Thank you for your cooperation and patience during this difficult time.

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Swimming and Eye Health

Let’s go over a few eye safety facts before we all start playing in the water this summer!

There’s nothing like an eye injury or infection to ruin a fun summer day, so make sure to follow these tips to protect your eyes will you enjoy the water, whether at a pool, a water park, or at a natural body of water.

Water Contains Eye Irritants

Have you ever felt a stinging sensation in your eyes after opening them underwater in the pool? That’s the burn of chloramine, a compound that forms when chlorine reacts with contaminants such as oils, dirt, and urine. It’s not as unpleasant as it sounds; chlorine is excellent at killing harmful bacteria so that the water is safe, and all chloramine will do in most cases is cause mild and temporary irritation. This can also happen if the pools pH isn’t balanced properly.

Whenever Possible, Wear Your Goggles

A great way to protect your eyes from irritants and contaminants in the water is by wearing goggles. Make sure to choose a pair that’s the right size for you and forms a good seal over your eyes. If you want to get fancy, you could even get a pair of prescription goggles to help you enjoy the view beneath the surface.

Keep Your Contacts Away From the Water

For those who would rather wear goggles over contact lenses than get prescription goggles, this solution comes with certain risks. Most microorganisms that live in water can’t survive the chlorine, but some can, and contact lenses act like Petri dishes for these little germs, which love moist, warm environments where they can multiply.

The most dangerous of these microorganisms is acanthamoeba, and it lives in almost every body of water on Earth. Most of the time we don’t have to worry about them, but wearing contacts while swimming can give them much more access to the surface of the eye, leading to acanthamoeba keratitis, a condition that can do serious damage to the cornea, up to and including permanent blindness.

Contacts are also their own problem in water. They aren’t designed to be in it, and they can easily fall out and get lost. They can also swell up and tighten around the cornea, causing irritation. That’s why we recommend leaving the contacts at home and relying on glasses and goggles for water activities.

We’ve Got Goggles Recommendations for You!

With a lot of goggles to choose from, we understand if it can get overwhelming, but we can help! Give us a call or stop by and we can discuss your goggles needs and recommend some good ones for you. Not everyone needs corrective lenses, but everyone needs good eye protection!

Have fun in the water and keep your eyes safe!

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.