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Home » What's New » Does Chlorine Hurt your Eyes?

Does Chlorine Hurt your Eyes?

little girls swimming

Just because the summer is coming to an end, doesn’t mean that we have to say goodbye to the swimming pool. Whether it means a nice refreshing dip on a warm fall afternoon or a winter swim in an indoor pool, swimming is a great activity for both fun and exercise. Nevertheless, have you ever wondered if all of this splashing around in chlorine-filled water can affect your eyes and vision?

Swimming pool water is chlorinated to keep it sanitized. The chlorine helps reduce water-borne bacteria and viruses to prevent pathogens and disease from spreading. While chlorine is a successful water sanitizer, its efficacy depends on a number of factors including how recently it was added to the water, the concentration of the chemical and how much the pool is used.

When your eyes are submerged in chlorinated pool water, the tear film that usually acts as a defensive shield for your cornea is washed away. This means that your eyes are no longer protected from dirt or bacteria that are not entirely eliminated by the treated pool water. So, swimmers can be prone to eye infections. One of the most common eye infections from swimming is conjunctivitis or pink eye, which can either be viral or bacterial.

Another eye issue that often develops from contact with chlorinated water is red, irritated eyes. When your cornea dehydrates as a result of exposure to chlorine, the irritation is often accompanied by blurriness, which can result in distorted vision temporarily. Although these symptoms usually disappear within a few minutes, the recovery time tends to increase with age. Using lubricating eye drops can help alleviate symptoms by restoring the hydrating, protective tear shield in your eye.

If you wear contact lenses, be sure to remove them before jumping in the pool. Contact lens patients are prone to an eye infection called acanthamoebic keratitis, which develops when a type of amoeba gets trapped in the space between the cornea and the contact lens and begins to live there. This infection can result in permanent visual impairment or lead to ulcers on the cornea. If you have taken a dip with contacts on, be sure to remove your lenses, rinse them with lens solution and refrain from sleeping in them after you've had a swim.            

There is no way to be one hundred percent sure of what is floating around in a swimming pool, so the best way to protect your eyes is to use water-tight goggles that fit you well. This way you can enjoy your swim without risking your eyes or your vision.

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To our valued patients,

In times of uncertainty, we want you to know that safety is our highest priority regarding the health of our patients, employees, and families.

At this time, we are planning to be open normal operating hours through 12pm on Friday March 20th. We will then close our office through March 29th. However, that is subject to change based on the current situation.

Dr. Shidlofsky will be available for Urgent or Emergency care visits. Please call our office 972-312-0177 and leave a message and we will get back with you shortly and set up a time for you to come in. You may also reach Dr. Shidlofsky by cell phone if you have a question: 817-405-6092

Vision Quest Optical will also be open on an appointment basis. Call 972-428-0236 to set up a time.

If you (the patient) or a family member is sick, please let us know so we can take the proper precautions.

The staff and I truly appreciate the trust you have placed in our practice. We are praying that you have a safe and healthy rest of your year!

With gratitude, Dr. Charles Shidlofsky, Center Director; Neuro-Vision Associates of North Texas; Neuro-Developmental Sensory Enhancement Center