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  • Scope Optometry

Is It Safe to Open Your Eyes Underwater?

Many individuals are fearful of large bodies of water or deep water. This is why some swimmers want to keep their eyes open when they are swimming to see potential hazards and avoid them. However, it is necessary to protect the eyes to prevent irritation and possible infection.

Some people also love to spend time in the pool during the warmer months of the year. However, pool water is usually clear but is treated with chlorine, which is why people shouldn't expose their eyes to the water for too long. Optometry experts warn that chlorine is an extremely strong disinfectant. It can damage the cells on the outer layer of the eye, and these cells help to shield the cornea.

Is It Safe to Open Your Eyes?

While it is fine to open your eyes underwater occasionally, prolonged looking while under the water can cause visual damage. It is common for the eyes to become irritated if they are exposed to chlorine for too long. Some individuals may become sensitive to light after leaving the pool and may also experience blurriness and pain in and around the eyes.

Potential Side Effects

You can experience both mild and severe side effects if you open your eyes underwater for more than a few minutes at a time.

Minor Side Effects

Burning and overall discomfort can occur if you spend time in a chlorinated swimming pool, even if you don't go underwater often. This depends on the pH level of the pool. The small amounts of chlorine in the pool help to remove toxins from the water, but our natural fats and oils are also dispersed into the water. These substances combine with chlorine and can lead to skin and eye irritation.

Major Side Effects

If you're exposed to chlorine for long periods of time, your eyes could become infected and your vision may be compromised, especially for contact lens wearers. Keep in mind the bacteria and microorganisms are found in every body of water, whether you're swimming in a pool, at the beach, or in the ocean. These bacteria can cause eye infections, including Acanthamoeba corneal infections -- this condition can cause blindness. If you wear contact lenses, make sure you dispose of them after getting in the water to keep bacteria from getting trapped in the lenses. Daily contact lenses are recommended for swimmers to reduce the risk of infection and blindness.

At Scope Optometry, we are committed to partnering with you to meet all your eye health and vision needs. We also have several stylish and functional high-quality frames so you can find the glasses or sunglasses you prefer for your vision-related needs. Visit our website to find new ways to protect your eyes today.

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