How Chlorine Affects Your Eyes

Many jokes are made around the bloodshot look that exposure to chlorine can give to your eyes. From the bright red veins showing to the itchiness, it not only looks not-so-great, but it also feels pretty terrible to the swimmer. It should come as no surprise to us that chlorine affects the eyes, but let’s dive a bit deeper today into how it could affect the eyes and what you can do to fight it off.

About Pool Chlorine

Chlorine is commonly used in pools to keep the water as “clean and safe as possible” for those who use it. Used to kill bacteria like salmonella and E coli, the advantages typically outweigh the disadvantages, as no one likes swimming in a dirty pool. It is a chemical, though, so by definition, it can affect many different parts of the body, but especially the eyes.

Affect of Chlorine on Eyes

Though chlorine is great for killing bacteria and keeping your pool clean, there are certainly some ways it can affect the body, specifically the eyes. Negative effects of chlorine on the eyes can include the following:


Probably the most obvious effect pool chlorine can have on the eyes is general irritation. This occurs especially when the eyes are exposed directly to the chlorine, such as when you open your eyes underwater. The eyes can become red and inflamed as a result.

Pink Eye

Many don’t associate catching pink eye with pool chlorine. Pool chlorine kills a lot of bacteria, but some things are able to survive it. Pink eye can be one of those things that is not caught by the chlorine, sometimes allowing the infection to begin and fester.

Other Infections

Unfortunately, pink eye isn’t the only thing that’s able to live through chlorine. Another potential thing that can live and cause infections, even through chlorine, is adenovirus.

Sensitivity to Light

Chlorine can also cause temporary sensitivity to light when in the eyes. This is particularly troublesome, as many pools are outdoors.

How to Protect Your Eyes

Luckily, there are several things you can do to limit these problems on your pool days. In particular, it is a good idea to not open your eyes underwater. If you must, try to sport goggles and limit the amount of time in which you are exposing your eyes. In addition, be mindful of your eyes’ health to begin with. Already irritated eyes should mean extra caution. In particular, it’s a good idea to avoid pools for a few weeks if you’ve just had eye surgery. Your optometrist or general doctor should be able to help with more of these questions should you have more. 

The bottom line of protecting your eyes is minimizing the exposure, as well as rinsing them out immediately with fresh water, should you become exposed in excess. For pain, cool compresses can also be used to reduce swelling, irritation, or a burning sensation that might be felt.

McCallum’s Pool Service Can Help

Our team of pool professionals are experts in all things pools, including chlorine. Though we can’t provide medical advice, we provide full service for pool builds, maintenance, and repairs. We love helping our Phoenix-area figure the right pool routines and maintenance for them to keep swimmers cool and having fun.

Call Us Today

If you are looking for a second opinion on how you can protect you and your family from the issues chlorine can have on your eyes, give us a call today at (480) 734-2495. We love hearing about what we can do to help you improve your home pool oasis to keep swimmers happy and healthy.