Heading To The Water Park This Summer? Grab Eye Drops And Swim Goggles First

boy sliding down a water slideThe water park business is booming in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex and for good reason. It’s HOT outside, and let’s face it, water parks offer hours of entertainment for the kids. Before you head to Bahama Beach, Hawaiian Falls, Altitude H20 or another local water park, Key-Whitman Eye Center’s President and Chief Surgeon Jeffrey Whitman has a few words of advice.“Be mindful of potential risks to eye health. Public pools and water parks are more likely to be contaminated with bacteria than private pools– more kids wearing diapers or peeing in the water. Plus, pools also have chlorine – which alone and combined with contaminants can irritate the eyes. While bacterial eye infections from pools are rare, chemical irritation of the eyes from chlorine is very common. Chlorine is really good at killing most of the bad stuff. The problem is that in high enough amounts it can be really irritating,” Dr. Whitman says.

Dr. Whitman discusses three types of eye irritation that may occur after visiting public pools and the different treatments required.

Take Steps To Prevent Eye Irritation Before You Go

Dr. Whitman encourages parents to have a chat with their kids about eye safety before visiting a water park or public pool.

As he explains, “Oftentimes you can prevent eye irritation by avoiding going under the water. It’s also a good idea to wear swim goggles when you’re swimming or playing in chlorinated water. Swim goggles come in all sizes – from little kids through adults – and many offer UV protection, which is also important.”

Arm Yourself With Eye Drops For Red, Irritated Eyes

Another step Dr. Whitman recommends is keeping two types of over-the-counter (OTC) eye drops on hand, just in case.

“If your child’s eyes look red and irritated, or they come in and say, ‘Mom my eyes are really bugging me,’ consider having OTC artificial tears at home to help provide relief (NOT the get the red out drops, which will get the red out at first, but give you rebound redness within 2-3 hours, leading to a vicious cycle of drop overuse.). The artificial tears, on the other hand, can be used liberally to help wash the contaminants out. Another option is OTC antihistamine eye drops, which are also readily available at the pharmacy. These drops can help with minor amounts of inflammation,” says Dr. Whitman.

Dr. Whitman explains why and how to use OTC remedies to address eye irritation related to chlorine and other contaminants in public pools and at water parks.

Call A Doctor If Eye Irritation Persists Or Signs Of Infection Appear

Have your child’s eye been red and irritated for more than 24 hours? It’s probably time to call a doctor.

According to Dr. Whitman, “If you notice your child has a lot of eye irritation and it’s been more than 24 hours, or their eyelids are sticking together due to mattering of the eyes, then it’s a good time to give a pediatrician or ophthalmologist a call. At that point, it’s important to bring them in and get their eyes checked out, because they may need a prescription medication.”

Get more summer safety tips for kids in this helpful post: 5 Surprising Summer Eye Health Risks and What You Can Do About It

Concerned About Summer Eye Irritation? Give Us A Call

If you live in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, you can schedule an eye appointment for your child ages 7-17 at Key-Whitman Eye Center in Dallas, Plano and Mesquite offices.

If you need an eye appointment, you can visit any Key-Whitman location in Dallas, Arlington, South Arlington, Mesquite or Plano locations. Simply contact our main office at (214) 225-2577 or set up an appointment online.


Jeffrey Whitman, M.D., is a nationally renowned eye surgeon, board certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology. He has been the President and Chief Surgeon of Key-Whitman Eye Centers in Dallas since 1996 and is currently President of the Outpatient Ophthalmic Surgery Society. Dr. Whitman is a frequent participant in clinical trials and is known as a respected researcher, innovator and leader in refractive cataract surgery, LASIK eye surgery and for his extensive experience implanting high-technology lenses. He is frequently called upon to serve on the boards of local and
national medical associations and organizations. Dr. Whitman and his wife reside in Dallas and enjoy fitness, playing tennis, snow skiing and traveling.