Effects of chlorine on eye allergies

1. Why do so many people’s eye get red from chlorine in a pool?

A: Chlorine can definitely cause the eyes to get red, especially if the level of chlorine is too high. When chlorine contacts organic matter, it converts to a potentially toxic gas called nitrogen trichloride. This organic matter could be dead leaves or even urine (hmm…how’d that get in the pool?).

The same gas that causes red eyes can also cause asthma. These gases are strongest closest to the water surface. A good breeze for circulation helps, and taking breaks out of the water can also be helpful.

2. How do allergies affect people’s eyes?

A: Allergies will usually cause the body to attempt to get rid of the offending organism. If the organism is pollen in the eyes, the blood vessels will swell, and mast cells and eosinophils will be sent to the area and may burst in the blood vessel, making the eyes very itchy. The eyes will also become very watery in an attempt to flush away the problem.

3. What can people do when allergies bother their eyes?

A: A cool compress slows down the process a bit.

B: Flushing the eye with sterile saline can help.

C: Try not to rub the eyes, as this breaks open even more mast cells.

D: Systemic antihistamines can help, but may make you drowsy.

E: Over-the-counter antihistamine eye drops (such as Zaditor, Alaway or Opcon-A) may help, but if the redness and itching persist, see your eye doctor for a stronger allergy eye drop.

4. What about those "get the red out" drops?

A: All of those drops have vasoconstrictors that temporarily shrink swollen blood vessels. The problem is that if you use them too much, you can get a rebound affect and the eyes can become even more red unless you use more of the drops.

5. Do people need to see an ophthalmologist or an optometrist to get treatment?

A: Optometrists are able to diagnose the underlying condition and prescribe medications. If surgery of any kind is needed, they can refer you to an ophthalmologist as needed, but this usually isn’t necessary.

For more information about Merrimack Vision Care, call 424-0404 or visit merrimackvision.com.

Effects of chlorine on eye allergies

1. Why do so many people’s eye get red from chlorine in a pool?

A: Chlorine can definitely cause the eyes to get red, especially if the level of chlorine is too high. When chlorine contacts organic matter, it converts to a potentially toxic gas called nitrogen trichloride. This organic matter could be dead leaves or even urine (hmm…how’d that get in the pool?).

The same gas that causes red eyes can also cause asthma. These gases are strongest closest to the water surface. A good breeze for circulation helps, and taking breaks out of the water can also be helpful.

2. How do allergies affect people’s eyes?

A: Allergies will usually cause the body to attempt to get rid of the offending organism. If the organism is pollen in the eyes, the blood vessels will swell, and mast cells and eosinophils will be sent to the area and may burst in the blood vessel, making the eyes very itchy. The eyes will also become very watery in an attempt to flush away the problem.

3. What can people do when allergies bother their eyes?

A: cool compress slows down the process a bit.

B: Flushing the eye with sterile saline can help.

C: Try not to rub the eyes, as this breaks open even more mast cells.

D: Systemic antihistamines can help, but may make you drowsy.

E: Over-the-counter antihistamine eye drops (such as Zaditor, Alaway or Opcon-A) may help, but if the redness and itching persist, see your eye doctor for a stronger allergy eye drop.

4. What about those "get the red out" drops?

A: All of those drops have vasoconstrictors that temporarily shrink swollen blood vessels. The problem is that if you use them too much, you can get a rebound affect and the eyes can become even more red unless you use more of the drops.

5. Do people need to see an ophthalmologist or an optometrist to get treatment?

A: Optometrists are able to diagnose the underlying condition and prescribe medications. If surgery of any kind is needed, they can refer you to an ophthalmologist as needed, but this usually isn’t necessary.

For more information about Merrimack Vision Care, call 424-0404 or visit merrimackvision.com.