Before You Take the Plunge, You Need to Know Something about the Pool

By Eye Institute of Houston
May 15, 2018

Eye Medical Services  Bellaire, TXIt’s that time of year when we begin planning trips to the pool! Summertime just isn’t the same if you don’t get to dip your toes in the water. Around here, we like to do that as often as possible to get a break from the sweltering heat. If you’ve got your poolside cabana booked for the next few months, here’s what you need to know before your family takes the plunge.

Those May Not be Tears of Joy

You’re probably not so affected by the summertime heat that some time in the pool would literally bring tears of joy. There may be tears, though, or at least some discomfort. You see, pool water can do a doozy on the tear film that covers the surface of your eyes. That film is essential to comfort and general eye health. When disrupted by the chemicals in pool water, the moistness of the tear film may diminish to a point where the eyes become red, irritated, and watery.

The effects of pool water may be exacerbated in people who frequently swim, which many children do throughout their summer vacation. When the eyes are over-exposed to pool water, symptoms of dry eye may persist long after a day of fun in the sun. Furthermore, secondary consequences such as pink eye may occur when the tear film is diminished.

How to Enjoy Safe Days at the Pool

You don’t have to keep little Johnny and Jenny out of the water all summer in order to prevent eye irritation. You and your family can enjoy time in the water just about every day when precautions are taken to preserve the tear film in the eyes. You can do this with:

  • Swimming goggles. Goggles aren’t just for Olympic swimmers; they are beneficial for any person who spends time in a pool, especially public pools. Well-fitting goggles keep chemicals and bacteria from getting in the eyes.
  • Swim, Rinse, Repeat. After getting out of the pool, the eyes can be rinsed with fresh water. A few splashes in the sink can wash away a good amount of chemicals and chlorine from the eyes.
  • Eye drops. Over-the-counter eye drops don’t have to used only to remedy redness. Apply eye drops, or even gel tears, before getting into the pool (even if you wear goggles) to support adequate tear film.
  • A good old glass of water (actually, eight of them) goes a long way at promoting eye health. Internal hydration is vital to adequate tear production, so drink up!

We wish you and your family a safe and silly summer. If signs of eye infection develop after some pool time, we can help. Call our Houston area office at (713) 668-7337.

Eye Care, Eye Conditions

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