How long should I lay off swimming after ReLEx® SMILE®?

Doctor's Answers (1)

Dr David Chan

"Ophthalmologist with over 20 years of experience"

It is good that you take notice of such symptoms and are aware of how your eyes are feeling as well as closely following the eye doctor’s advice.

With regards to your situation, I would assume you swim in a swimming pool, yes? Swimming pool water contains significant amounts of chlorine and other chemicals which act as a disinfectant for hygiene purposes as public pools are shared areas. A common side effect of chlorine is that it dries out your skin, hair and eyes, and more so for the eyes if you do not use a pair of swimming googles.

This drying effect affects the function of your natural tears thus the sensation of dryness and blurring. However, these effects are not long-lasting as the body is able to overcome this dryness on its own, as you have experienced.

What I may suggest is to use a pair of goggles to keep your eyes away from the chlorine as much as possible. Also, lubricating eyedrops given by your eye doctor would help alleviate the dryness and blurring after swimming. You may also consider getting a bottle of saline to rinse your eyes after a swim just to flush out the pool water from your eyes.

Having said that, it is also good to be aware of the symptoms of an eye infection as swimming pool water does contain bacteria. These can be easily remembered by the following:

If you don’t:

  • “feel good” ie eyes are painful and pain is worsening.
  • “see good” ie vision is getting blurrier and blurrier.
  • “look good” ie eyes are getting redder and redder with yellow sticky discharge.

Should you experience any of the above symptoms, do immediately notify your eye doctor as it could possibly be an eye infection.

I hope the above information helps and do continue to follow up with your doctor as recommended. Take care.

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