Summer is finally here! Pool-party season is now well underway. Did you know that the risk of eye infection increases when your eyes are in contact with water? Even when properly maintained, a pool can still contain bacteria that causes infections. Children are particularly sensitive to this. Here are some tips to keep your eyes healthy while in the pool.

1. Remove contact lenses before jumping into the water
Before donning your swimsuit and applying sunscreen, remember to remove your contact lenses. Since lenses absorb water, they can hold bacteria and contaminate your eyes more easily. The lenses also make the eyes drier and more susceptible to injury. Small abrasions caused by contact lenses can increase the chance of bacteria entering the eyes when in contact with water. For example, some serious infections such as Acanthamoeba keratitis are associated with contact lens contamination. They can cause permanent vision loss or even blindness.

Chlorine in the water can also irritate your eyes if you keep your lenses on. If you forgot to remove your lenses before going into the water, please remove them and discard them to avoid contaminating your eyes.

2. Wear swimming goggles
Swimming goggles avoid your eyes from coming into contact with the pool water and prevent them from becoming irritated as well. They also reduce the risk of eye infections. It is even possible to get goggles with your prescription in them so that you can see perfectly under water! Some goggles also have UV protection, which helps protect your eyes from the sun. Make sure your swimming goggles are snug and tight to prevent water from seeping in.

Did you forget to bring your swimming goggles? Try to keep your eyes closed under water to avoid irritating or contaminating them.

3. Use artificial tears to moisturize your eyes
Have you ever noticed that your eyes get particularly dry after a long swim? Before going into the pool, think about putting artificial tears in your eyes. They help prevent your eyes from getting dry from the water and chlorine. After swimming, put a cold compress on your eyelids to clean the chlorine around your eyes, and reapply lubricating drops.

4. Protect your eyes from the sun
Since the sun reflects off of the water, it can be damaging to your eyes while you are floating in the pool. If you plan to stay on the water or at the edge of the pool, consider wearing sunglasses to protect your eyes from the harmful rays of the sun. To further reduce glare from reflections on the water, choose a pair with polarized lenses.

Do you plan to swim in the sea or in a lake? These tips are just as valid. In an untreated body of water, the risk of eye infections is even greater. Remember to protect your eyes this summer, but most importantly, have fun in the water!