Top swimming tips for eyes this Summer!

Are you heading to the beach this summer to enjoy a dip in the ocean? Perhaps you’ll be poolside at a resort, or maybe you’ll be teaching the kids to swim at your local pool. Whatever the case, it’s important to look after your eyes when you’re splashing around to avoid ending up with red, irritated eyes after swimming. Find out why from our experts…

Not so clear

The clear, crystal blue waters of the ocean or a pool may look inviting, but exposing your corneas to water for prolonged periods of time can cause them to swell, with the end result being foggy vision. Both saltwater and chlorinated swimming pool water can irritate your eyes and wash away your protective, hydrating tear film, leaving your eyes dry, red and sore.

 

But that isn’t all; clear water can hide a host of potential threats to your eyes, namely bacteria and other microbes. The bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa and the Acanthamoeba in particular can cause eye infections, especially for those that go swimming with contact lenses in, as these microbes can attach to the lenses.

 

Even for those who take their contacts out before swimming, tiny scratches on the surface of the eye are more common in contact lens wearers and these provide an open door for microbes in the water to enter.

 

While chlorine in swimming pools kills many microbes, it doesn’t kill Acanthamoeba. Once infection with this microbe takes hold, the cornea becomes inflamed and without prompt treatment can result in an urgent corneal transplant or in the worst-case scenario, even sight loss.

 

What can you do to protect your eyes when swimming?

Now you know the dangers lurking in bodies of water where you may go swimming, here are our top 5 swimming tips for eyes:

 

1) Wear goggles

The best way to protect your eyes from what’s in the water, is to avoid the water ever touching your eyes in the first place. A snug-fitting pair of goggles will do the trick.

 

2) Do not wear contact lenses if possible

Contact lenses are a welcome mat for harmful bacteria in the water. Ideally, you should never wear them when swimming. However, if you don’t have prescription goggles and need your contact lenses to see while swimming, then use a fresh pair of daily disposables alongside your goggles and dispose of them as soon as you are done swimming.

 

3) Rinse your eyes with lubricating drops

If you find your goggles have leaked or you take an unexpected dip without them, use lubricating eye drops as recommended by our optometrists after your swim to help restore the tear film and ease any symptoms such as dryness or redness.

 

4) Visit your optician

If you’re concerned about your eye health, want advise before travelling abroad, or are experiencing any symptoms of discomfort with your vision after swimming, visit our highly experienced opticians to have your vision and eye health checked.

 

For more advice on taking care of your eyes or to have your eye health checked, visit Optikal Opticians, your opticians in Potters Bar, Temple Fortune and Finchley.