It's officially summer time for half of the hemisphere, happy summer days to all! This means lots of outdoor activities, which usually include cooling off in various bodies of water. Patients will start to ask about swimming with contact lenses or simply just opening their eyes under water. Here's my advice to keep those pearly white eyes happy all summer.
Our tears are composed of two very well balanced substances; one is a watery layer and the other an oily layer. The balance they play all day long creates a perfect PH for us to be well hydrated and comfortable. When these layers are disturbed by malfunction of the tear glands, injuries, diseases or chemicals burns our eyes suffer great discomfort that usually requires treatment. Eyed LA's favorite treatment for most of these issues is preventative measures to avoid the pain caused by these disturbances.
Opening your eyes while under water, whether sweet or salty water, will throw the perfect PH balance into a frenzy. The chemicals in pools along with the salty ocean water are almost considered a chemical burn on the surface of eyes. Most pool/beach enthusiast end the day with red, achy eyes...especially kids who spend lots of hours playing in the cooling waters. Once the eyes have been stripped of their balance, patients will often rub them to soothe the discomfort. Now think of dry skin (which is precisely how the eye behaves once the balance has been disturbed) and how itching that skin will sometimes lead to scratches. The surface of the eye will work exactly the same with rubbing, more scratches which can lead to possible infections. Therefore keep those eyes closed or use goggles to keep the tear layers protected. Lubricated drops (not "gets the red out" drops) found at your nearest pharmacy can help after a long day at the beach. One my favorite brands are Systane Balance or Refresh tears, make sure to check with your optometrist before using any of these products.
For some of you that wear contact lenses, this issue is only made worse when wearing contact lenses. The contact lens will absorb the water even more and suspend the chemicals for longer times on the surface of the eye, making the PH even worse. Remove your lenses or simply get some really fun swimming goggles to protect your precious white, healthy eyeballs.
"See and Be Seen" @ Eyed LA Optometry in Brentwood, West Los Angeles