Eye Care

What Causes Eye Irritation After Swimming?

Ever felt that burning sensation and irritation in your eyes after a nice day in the pool? Do you know what causes eye irritation after swimming? Though a wonderful exercise and mode of relaxation, swimming can cause severe irritation and itching in your eyes.

Let us examine what factors are responsible for this reaction.

What Causes Eye Irritation After Swimming?:

According to the American Optometric Association, this irritation is known as chemical conjunctivitis. Chemical conjunctivitis can also be called pink eye induced by swimming pool. The chlorine in our pools is responsible for this and mostly the issue resolves itself without the need for any treatment.

  • You might be fully aware that water in swimming pools is treated with chlorine-rich chemicals like sodium hypochlorite or calcium hypochlorite. Chlorine in these compounds effectively fends off bacteria and other microbial pesticides that may be present in pool waters.
  • Even a simple backyard pool’s capacity is known to be about 33,000 gallons. To make sure that the water is rid of any kind of disease-causing organisms, almost 12-95 percent of chlorine is to be added. The huge amount of chlorine is also needed to keep it from evaporating.

The Chlorine Effect:

The normal pH level (an indicator that tells us if a substance is a base or an acid) that a human body can stand is 7pH (pH scale ranges between 1-14). Anything, lesser than 7pH is acidic and more than it is basic. For the chlorine in a pool to be considered effective, it has to range between 7.2-7.8 pH.

  • When at 6.5pH, chlorine can effectively destroy bacteria. But, 6.5pH is way too acidic for human skin and at a higher pH, chlorine would not be able to fend off the bacteria that we bring along (in the form of oils, soaps et.). But, at the same time if pool is excessively chlorinated, it would cause eye irritation and stinging.
  • Though not a harmful phenomenon, we never know how each body can cope with the levels of chlorine in a pool.

Fresh Water Irritation:

Even fresh water swimming can cause irritation to eyes. This is because of the various algae present in the water that can have a harmful effect on your eyes. So, it is better to swim in ponds or lakes that are sparkling and pristine.

What causes eye irritation after swimming is now evident and there is no reason to panic if you develop red eyes after swimming. Washing your eyes under cool and fresh water taps can alleviate the irritation. Also, using saline eye drops when at beaches can help heal sore eyes.

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