How to Keep Eyes Open Under Water
Goggles can be uncomfortable or have imperfect seals that render them useless to the average swimmer. Keeping your eyes open underwater can cause irritation of your mucous membranes (eyes, nose).but is necessary in many cases. Adjusting to an underwater environment and its visual distortions is key to spending any amount of time underwater, and opening your eyes underwater is the first step.
Practicing at Home
Go to your bathroom and fill your sink with water.You will want to ease in and start with tap water as opposed to pool water or open freshwater and saltwater. The sink should be full enough that you can submerge your face at least halfway. Avoid temperatures that shock or scald the skin with cold or hot to make the process easier.
Put your face in with eyes closed.Let your face adjust to the temperature and make sure you feel comfortable and calm when you are submerged underwater. If your nose is irritated at this stage, you should stop, as your eyes are likely to become more irritated by chlorine or cleaning byproducts from halogen-based cleaners.
Submerge yourself in a bathtub.Practice keeping your eyes open underwater as long as you can hold your breath. The temperature of the water should be moderate to cold, as in pools or the sink earlier. Continue practicing this until you have no trouble and don’t mind the irritation of exposing your eyes to water.
Opening your Eyes While Swimming
Find a minimally treated water source.Practice swimming in a pool that uses non-chlorine based cleaners or fresh water. While chlorine has not been conclusively found to cause eye irritation or corneal damage, it has been found to increase this activity in by-products of pool cleaners. Larger pools should be avoided, as they are most likely to use hypochlorite or elemental chlorine to maintain water quality.
Submerge yourself and open your eyes.If you are in fresh water, you should expect a minimum of irritation, but treated or saltwater is far more likely to contain irritants. While your eyes might become irritated and your corneas irritated, loss of visual acuity is unlikely without excessive time spent practicing.
Practice adding time with your eyes open.Work at this, minding irritation to your eyes or exhaustion swimming until you can keep your eyes open underwater as long as you can hold your breath. Focus on increasing the time you keep your eyes open and focused underwater each time. Avoid deep or treacherous areas if you are not already a strong swimmer.
Practice keeping your eyes open and seeing underwater.You will likely want to spread this over several sessions to minimize risk of irritation if you are in a treated pool or saltwater, though it likely should not take too long before you are comfortable. You will want to practice in multiple water sources, which can vary considerably in their visibility and color. Avoid any unsanitary or stagnant water while practicing, as waterborne infections are a risk in small lakes and ponds.
- You will need additional practice to parse visual information underwater accurately.Practice estimating distance with objects that you know are a certain depth or distance from you, and estimate how long it takes you to reach the object to get a sense of your ability to react to these things.
- If you are diving, avoid going too deep in an unpressurized suit. Pressure changes during ascent can easily cause burst capillaries and damage to the ears. Make sure you can easily equalize the pressure when you dive with ease.
QuestionHow can I open my eyes if I'm scared?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerTry wearing goggles and leaving a slight gap in them so water can slowly seep in. This way you get used to your eyes having contact with the water. Take it slow. I did this and I was scared at first, but it worked for me.Thanks!
QuestionCan you open your eyes first try?Faith ChapmanCommunity AnswerYes, of course! If you're worried try it with goggles first and leave a little gap so water can sink in. If you get used to that then try without goggles.Thanks!
QuestionFor how long can you stay underwater with your eyes open?Kristina MlynarovaCommunity AnswerYou can stay up to 1 minute with your eyes open, but don't repeat this. Take a rest and repeat in another 10 to 15 minutes.Thanks!
QuestionWhat if you have sensitive eyes? What do you do if all these steps still hurts your eyes?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerDon't do it. Remember, this is only if you feel comfortable with opening your eyes. Just use goggles or a diving mask.Thanks!
QuestionHow do I stop my eyes from getting red?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYou can take eye drops after swimming if necessary. You can open your eyes for up to a minute if you're comfortable. Do not repeat this several times. Takes breaks in between instead.Thanks!
QuestionCan people keep their eyes open underwater after some practicing?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYes. It's just a matter of overcoming whatever fear you have about it.Thanks!
QuestionHow do I do this in the ocean without irritating my eyes?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIn general, you shouldn't be opening your eyes in the ocean. Your eyes will be irritated in even the purest water, but they will be even worse off in the ocean. Between the salt, sediment, and fish feces sloshing around in the seawater, you stand a good chance of getting an abrasion on your eyeball or a nasty infection.Thanks!
QuestionAm I supposed to blink underwater with my eyes open?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYou can. It really doesn't matter for some people, but for some, it might be a little irritating.Thanks!
QuestionI want to be a lifeguard, but I can't open my eyes underwater. Would that be an issue?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerThere aren't many cases when you have to open your eyes underwater, so probably not. Just make sure that you put in eye drops after you do to soothe the burning. It is a skill that takes some time to get used to.Thanks!
QuestionWhat if my eyes start to burn?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerThe best option is to wear goggles. If that is not one of your options, you'll have to deal with the sting, or close your eyes.Thanks!
- If you are practicing in your own pool, consider investing in low-chlorine or chlorine free pool cleaners to minimize irritation and risk of corneal damage.
- It is always recommended to use goggles in treated or saltwater to minimize risk of corneal damage and eye irritation. While chlorinated pool cleaners have not been directly implicated in any loss of vision among swimmers, byproducts of cleaners and effects on water properties such as pH or osmolarity have been demonstrated to irritate mucous membranes and the cornea.
- Avoid swimming or opening your eyes in stagnant or untreated pools. The risk of infection is high when you expose your mucous membranes to untreated water and microbes that live there.
- Avoid chlorinated pools especially if you have respiratory problems, as ambient chlorine gas concentrations have been linked to respiratory problems in swimmers.
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