Do you worry that swimming in chlorinated water might harm your family’s eyes? This important topic was the focus of a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, titled ‘Does Chlorine Affect Your Vision?

The article – by reporter Heidi Mitchell – offers excellent advice to swimmers on avoiding inflammation and infections of the eye known as conjunctivitis.

Use Swimming Goggles or Lubricating Eye Drops

The reporter interviewed optometrist Dr. Glenda Secor, chair of the American Optometric Association’s contact lens and cornea section, to get her expert opinion. Secor told Mitchell that people have been in contact with chlorinated water for generations, and “yet there has never been documented evidence that continuous exposure to the diluted chemical can cause permanent harm to the eyes.”

The eye doctor said irritation can result when the eye’s protective tear film is washed away by pool water, and recommended wearing well-fitting goggles while swimming. As an alternative, lubricating drops are helpful to flush away any residual treated water in the eye and will bulk up the tear film faster, Secor pointed out.

Check For Proper Pool Chemistry

Another article, authored by physician and public health official Ralph Morris, MD, MPH, says that chlorinating swimming pool water goes a long way toward preventing conjunctivitis caused by bacterial and viral infections. Proper swimming pool chemistry is key to swimmer eye, skin and respiratory comfort, adds Morris, who is a member of the Water Quality & Health Council. This group works to promote good swimmer hygiene, coupled with testing pool water.

To help swimmers check that the pools they swim in are healthy, the group recommends swimmers use pool test kits to check the pH and free chlorine levels of pool water. These are available in most pool supply stores and hardware stores. lLet the pool manager know if the chemistry isn’t right!


At Moms Against Cooties, we think that healthy swimming – for good eye health and overall well-being – should be a joint effort between pool managers and swimmers. Keep safe and enjoy good family fun at the pool!