Can You Open Your Eyes In The Ocean? (Or Not?)

We use affiliate links in this article. And, as an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Thanks for your support.

Hey buddy! Preparing for a beach trip, right?

And not sure about the safety of your eyes underwater, right?

I got you. Read this article and find out the answers to all your questions and take notes from the precautionary measures mentioned and you’ll be good to go!

Can I Open My Eyes in the Ocean?

Opening your eyes underwater in the ocean is generally not recommended. The saltwater in the ocean irritates your eyes. It may also lead to temporary blurred vision and stinging sensations. Additionally, there can be particles, debris, or organisms in the water that could potentially harm your eyes.

To protect your eyes while swimming or diving in the ocean, it is advisable to wear goggles or a mask specifically designed for underwater use. These will create a seal around your eyes and provide clearer visibility while keeping your eyes protected from saltwater and potential irritants. Here are some things that you must keep in mind while you wear eyeglasses while surfing or just when going for a swim as well.

Is Salt Water Safe For Your Eyes?

Saltwater itself is not harmful to your eyes and is generally considered safe. Saline solutions, which contain a similar salt concentration to that of your tears, are commonly used for rinsing and cleaning the eyes.

However, it’s important to note that prolonged exposure to saltwater, such as in the ocean, can cause discomfort and temporary irritation to your eyes. The high salt content can cause a stinging or burning sensation, and the salt crystals or particles in the water may irritate the delicate tissues of your eyes.

Does Ocean Water Burn Your Eyes?

Ocean water can cause a burning or stinging sensation in the eyes of some individuals. This is primarily due to the salt content and other natural substances present in the water. The high concentration of salt can irritate the delicate tissues of the eyes, leading to discomfort. 

Additionally, ocean water may contain other substances, such as algae, bacteria, or pollutants, which can further contribute to eye irritation. 

The degree of eye burning or stinging can vary among individuals, as some people may be more sensitive to the effects of saltwater than others. Factors such as salt concentration, water quality, and individual eye sensitivity can influence the level of discomfort experienced. 

What Happens If You Open Your Eyes Underwater?

If you open your eyes underwater, several things can happen:

1. The refractive properties of water differ from the air, causing light to bend differently as it enters your eyes. This can result in blurred vision, making it challenging to see underwater.

2. Water, especially chlorinated or saltwater, can cause discomfort and irritation to the delicate tissues of your eyes. It may lead to a stinging or burning sensation, redness, or watery eyes.

3. There may be particles, or organisms present that can irritate your eyes. These could include sand, dirt, chemicals, or microorganisms, which may cause additional discomfort or infection.

4. Opening your eyes underwater can increase the risk of eye infections. 

Can Sea Water Cause Eye Infections?

The sea water itself does not typically cause eye infections. The high salt content in seawater can have some antimicrobial properties. However, there are factors associated with seawater that can increase the risk of eye infections like bacteria and microorganisms, pollutants, and poor water quality. 

So if you experience discomfort after going under seawater then one of these caused it. If you experience persistent eye redness, irritation, pain, or discharge after exposure to seawater, it is advisable to seek medical attention from an eye care professional. 

How To Prevent Eye Infections From Seawater?

To minimize the risk of eye infections from seawater, follow these guidelines:

1. Refrain from opening your eyes while swimming or diving in the sea. This helps prevent direct contact between your eyes and the water.

2. Wear goggles or a mask specifically designed for underwater use. These provide a barrier between your eyes and the seawater.

3. After swimming in the sea, rinse your eyes with clean, fresh water. 

4. Refrain from touching or rubbing your eyes with hands that may have come into contact with seawater. 

5. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water before touching your eyes. 

6. Choose swimming locations with good water quality and avoid areas known to have high pollution levels or poor sanitation practices. Pay attention to any beach advisories or warnings regarding water quality.

By following these preventive measures, you can help minimize the risk of eye infections and maintain healthy eyes while enjoying activities in the sea.


When it comes to sea waters and oceans with high salt concentrations, it is crucial to exercise caution and prioritize your eye health. It is best to avoid going underwater without appropriate protection to ensure the well-being of your eyes.

To stay safe during beach travel, it is recommended to use protective eyewear such as goggles, or a mask designed for underwater use. Here, we have suggested some of the best sunglasses for surfing, that can be used when going for your next deep-water dive as well! By wearing such protection, you reduce the chances of eye irritation and infection, allowing you to enjoy your time at the beach without unnecessary discomfort.

When buying sunglasses for yourself, you should also be sure to get some great floating straps. These are gonna keep your sunglasses buoyant. Here are some of the best floating sunglasses strap. Check them out and see what’s best for you.

Don’t forget to take good care of your eyes during your time at the beach. Enjoy!

Photo of author


Tessa Reynolds
Meet Tessa Reynolds, who lives in Denver, Colorado. She likes to write about sunglasses, and eye makeup so that she can share her knowledge, and help all the people who need something for their eyes. When she is not writing, you can find her skiing in the mountains of Colorado.