Causes of Red Eyes when Swimming and How to Prevent It

Red eyes when swimming generally occurs due to blood vessels near the surface of our eyes becoming enlarged and dilated due to increased exposure to irritants as well as chemicals. While heavy chlorine concentrations and unbalanced PH levels, especially in communal pools, can make things worse, the main culprit for bloodshot eyes is generally caused by a chemical compound.

So, what is Really Irritating Your Eyes?

It’s the contaminants in the pool, which includes sweat and any germs that get washed off the bodies of swimmers, as well as urine! The more people there are using the same pool, the more the contaminates add up. This organic matter then binds to the chlorine in the water and creates a chemical compound, which is in fact, the main cause of your bloodshot and blurry eyes.

Chlorine or Saltwater?

Truth be told, a strong chlorine smell is not an indication of a clean or healthy pool. And while super-chlorination can be an effective way to rid the actual pool water of by-products and bacteria, it can be counterproductive, especially if there is poor fresh air turnover, as the air too, becomes saturated with eye irritating contaminants.  

While small amounts of chlorine will be present in a saltwater pool – chlorine being a by-product of salt – the instance of getting red eyes when swimming is greatly reduced. Saltwater pools are therefore a more natural approach, also being kinder to your skin and hair.

Red Eye Prevention Tactics

Chlorinated pools are considered safe but it’s important to regularly test your pool water and keep your PH levels balanced and within the right range.

To reduce the presence of contaminants, get into the habit of making use of outdoor or indoor showers and wash off any dirt and sweat before taking a dip. Also, encourage swimmers, especially children, to empty their bladders before diving in because some forms of sharing are not exactly caring.

Especially when using public pools, or if you’re going to be in the water for a long time, a pair of swimming goggles will help to protect your eyes from any irritants.

Pool Spa has knowledgeable and friendly staff who can provide you with the best advice to keep your pool clean and healthy which, in turn, will help reduce red eyes when swimming. Chat to one of our experts today. Visit us at