Spending time in a pool has been the preferred way to cool off during warm days as well as having fun while exercising. Even though a refreshing swim can provide an invigorated feeling, it can also lead to eye irritation which can be itchy and uncomfortable.
Always bear in mind that eye irritation or chemical conjunctivitis due to swimming is a common issue among those who take a dip in chlorinated pools. This condition is caused by various irritants such as air pollution, chlorine or chemical exposure. Once exposed to chemicals, the conjunctiva or thin layer of transparent tissue that covers the white part of the eye is inflamed. It is vital that you know how to identify, manage and prevent eye irritation in case you have plans to go on swimming.
What are the signs and symptoms?
Individuals who experience chemical conjunctivitis after swimming can end up with symptoms in one eye or both. The signs and symptoms include grate-like sensation, burning, itchiness as well as excessive watery eyes. Discharge or drainage from one or both eyes is also common along with redness of the eye, swollen eyelids, blurry vision and light sensitivity.
Home remedies for eye irritation
You can manage eye irritation at home. The initial step is to flush the eyes thoroughly using warm water or saline solution to help eliminate any irritants from the surface of the eye.
A cold compress can also reduce the inflammation and irritation while over-the-counter eye drops that have a lubricating effect can minimize the burning sensation and itchiness. Individuals who use contact lens should stop using them until the inflammation and irritation of the eye has passed.
When to seek medical care?
Eye irritation that continues for more than a number of hours after taking a dip in a pool or could not be remedied with home remedies must be properly assessed by a doctor. A doctor should be consulted if pus-like, thick discharge is present.
Take note that eye irritation caused by chlorine can lead to momentary clouding of vision but a doctor should be consulted if the changes in vision lasts for more than an hour or two. Remember that this can indicate a serious complication that requires medical attention or complications are likely to occur.
How to prevent eye irritation
You can prevent irritation of the eyes when swimming in a residential pool by analyzing the pH level of the water frequently and adjust the pool chemicals accordingly. It is important to note that the pH level between 7.2-7.8 is suitable for eye comfort and pool disinfection.
Nevertheless, maintaining the ideal pH level in the pool can be a difficult task even at home. As for public swimming pools, the chemical and pH levels are usually beyond than normal. When swimming, it is recommended to use swimming goggles to provide protection against eye irritation with its water-tight barrier while under water.