Summertime is finally here, which means you’re ready to spend your time escaping the heat with a cool dip in the ocean or pool.  Whether your preferred venue is the pool at your local gym or your favorite beach destination, you can’t wait to get in the water and splash around.

But before you cannonball straight in, consider this – are you ensuring that your eyes are ready for all of your aquatic activity?

Pool water can be especially harsh on the tear film, which is a thin layer of tears that coat and protect the eye from dirt and dust.  The chemicals in pool water can wash away this thin layer, which may leave your eyes vulnerable to irritation.  Prolonged exposure can even make it difficult for a person to produce tears, which can lead to blurry vision and a persistent, uncomfortable feeing in the eyes.

Want to avoid irritating your eyes this summer?  Take a look at these tips:

  • Wear goggles whenever you swim in pool water. Take your time finding the right fit, as too-loose goggles can trap water and irritate your eyes.
  • Flush your eyes after swimming with clean and fresh water.
  • Talk to your ophthalmologist about getting eye drops or gel tears to help counteract any irritation caused by dry eye. Eye drops can soothe dry eye symptoms, while gel tears can help thicken the tear film so you can stay protected while in the pool.
  • Drink lots of water – it helps bulk up your tear film!
  • Avoid wearing contact lenses while swimming. Multiple studies have shown that wearing contact lenses in pool water can leave you vulnerable to infection.
  • Don’t open your eyes underwater – it’s obvious advice, but it’s worth being said!

Want to learn more on how you can keep your eyes healthy so you can focus on summer fun?  Schedule an eye exam with ophthalmologist Dr. Jacqueline Griffiths at NewView Eye Center in Reston, VA today.

NewView Eye Center serves the greater Washington, DC metro area.