13 Aug 2014

How harmful is chlorine on your eyes?

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Halfway through our Phoenix summer and you’ve probably spent hours in your swimming. So you probably already know that chlorine can dry out your skin, but did you also know that chlorine can be hard on your eyes as well?

Temporary effects occur when the cornea is submerged and its protective tear film is washed away. Tears are our natural defense and help to reduce infections and wash away irritants. Without the film, that leaves the eyes vulnerable to bacteria lingering in the water. Pink eye, also known as bacterial or viral conjunctivitis, can be a common occurrence. Chlorine also temporarily causes the cornea to swell, although the swelling will subside eventually depending on how long your eyes were exposed to the chlorinated water. Red and irritated eyes are additional side effects of the chlorine.
People who wear contact lenses also face issues like losing a lens or an infection caused by an amoeba that gets trapped beneath the lens.

There are ways to limit your exposure. Water tight goggles are one way to help protect your eyes from exposure to chlorine. Another way is to make sure the PH balance in your pool is spot on. Balanced PH causes less irritation to eyes. Last but not least, limit your exposure. Hop out every 20 minutes or so to let your tear film rebuild itself and let your eyes begin to heal.