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Protect Your Eyes When Hitting the Pool
Skip contact lenses, try goggles, doctor suggests

By Mary Elizabeth Dallas

TUESDAY, July 29, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Chlorine helps keep pool water clean, but it can also make swimmers more likely to develop eye infections, doctors say.

Pool swimmers can also develop red, irritated eyes as well as blurry vision, said Dr. Sampson Davis, an emergency room physician at Meadowlands Hospital Medical Center in New Jersey.

It's important to understand why this happens, Davis said.

Swimming in chlorinated pools washes away the outer film layer of the eye that helps protect against infection. And chlorine might not completely rid the water of dirt and bacteria. As a result, swimmers may develop pink eye or other eye infections, Davis explained.

Chlorine can irritate the cornea and cause the eyes to become dry. This can lead to blurry vision.

Davis provided several tips to help swimmers prevent or ease these uncomfortable symptoms:

  • To prevent eye issues while swimming, wear water-tight goggles.
  • Remove contact lenses. The space between the eye and the contact lens may provide a breeding ground for bacteria and viruses.
  • For dry or irritated eyes, use lubricating eye drops.
  • Flush irritated or burning eyes with an eye wash or tap water for 15 minutes after swimming.

Although these steps can help ease minor redness and irritation, Davis said it's important to recognize signs of a more serious problem. Swimmers who notice the following symptoms should seek immediate medical attention:

  • Red eyes that are draining fluid.
  • Blurry or distorted vision.
  • Severe pain.

More information

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has more on chlorine in swimming pools.

SOURCE: Meadowlands Hospital Medical Center, news release, July 2014

Copyright © 2014 HealthDay. All rights reserved. URL:http://consumer.healthday.com/Article.asp?AID=689431

Resources from HONselect: HONselect is the HON's medical search engine. It retrieves scientific articles, images, conferences and web sites on the selected subject.
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Disclaimer: The text presented on this page is not a substitute for professional medical advice. It is for your information only and may not represent your true individual medical situation. Do not hesitate to consult your healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns. Do not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting a qualified healthcare professional.
Be advised that HealthDay articles are derived from various sources and may not reflect your own country regulations. The Health On the Net Foundation does not endorse opinions, products, or services that may appear in HealthDay articles.


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