Things You Can Do to Reduce Swimming-Induced Eye Irritation

Have you ever taken your child swimming only to hear them complain about their eyes hurting after they’ve been in the water? Maybe you’ve experienced some of that yourself. Pool chemicals can be a bit rough on the eyes and cause them to become irritated. So what can you do to reduce that irritation?

Wear Goggles

If the problem is due to direct exposure to pool chemicals, what better way to prevent irritation than to prevent them from coming into contact with the eyes altogether? Wearing goggles can be a great way to reduce, if not eliminate swimming-induced eye irritation. Make sure your child’s goggles fit properly and that they create a good seal around the eyes. You may need to help them adjust the goggles so they’ll work properly. For even more eye protection, choose goggles that have UV protection to protect their eyes from the sun too.

Rinse and Lubricate

Sometimes even properly fitted goggles aren’t enough to eliminate contact between the pool chemicals and sensitive eyes. Other times children may simply not be interested in wearing goggles, or may not have a pair to wear. In these cases, rinsing the eyes with fresh tap water after exiting the pool can help rinse away the chlorine or saline used to maintain pool water cleanliness. Using eye drops can also help lubricate the eyes, further reducing feelings of irritation.

Ditch the Contact Lenses

Anyone who wears contact lenses should avoid wearing them while they are swimming. There are two reasons for this. First, contact lenses tend to get lost in the pool when the wearer swims or dives underwater with their eyes open. That’s sure to cause problems beyond simple eye irritation. Second, bacteria from pool water can collect on contact lenses and cause both irritation and infection. If that happens, you’re sure to have an eye irritation problem that lasts well beyond your trip to the pool.

Swimming can be fun, but that fun can be diminished by swimming-induced eye irritation. Sure, you could simply tell your child to close their eyes, but that’s not a very practical solution. You do need to see where you’re going, after all. Fortunately, wearing goggles, rinsing and lubricating the eyes, and not wearing contact lenses while swimming can help reduce the irritation, if not avoid it altogether.

Eye irritation isn’t the only thing some people get concerned about when it comes to swimming. Click here for SwimJim’s answers to common questions and concerns.