Have you ever wondered why your eyes sting and turn red when you go for a swim? While most people think chlorine is the culprit, some say that it's actually pee (Yikes!).
According to Michael J. Beach, Ph.D., associate director of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Healthy Water program, red and stinging eyes are not caused by irritation to chlorine. "It's quite the opposite. Chlorine binds with all the things it’s trying to kill from your bodies, and it forms these chemical irritants. That's what’s stinging your eyes. It’s the chlorine binding to the urine and the sweat."
The National Swimming Pool Foundation says irritants created by a mixture of chlorine and nitrogen-containing compounds, including urine, sweat and dirt, are the primary cause of your pool red eye. While Chris Wiant, Chair of the Water Quality and Health Council states, "That 'chlorine' smell at the pool isn’t actually chlorine. What you smell are chemicals that form when chlorine mixes with pee, sweat and dirt from swimmers’ bodies."
If you plan to swim anytime soon, be aware of the cleanliness and maintenance of the pool you're going to take a dip in. You wouldn’t want to have red eyes, right?