When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more here.

Can You Open Your Eyes In The Ocean?

If you live in an area where it’s 40 degrees or colder for about half the year, you usually want to enjoy the outdoors without shivering while you can.

If you love the water, you especially welcome the thought of swimming if it’s now the middle of summer and at least 90 degrees outside.

What’s more exciting, you perhaps finally have landed your chance to take your dream vacation where the water is as clear as your mind is while lying on a beach.

 Assuming you do know how to swim, but you haven’t spent much time in salt water, you might need some tips on how to protect your eyes.

Opening Your Eyes In The Ocean

What better way to cool off than to spend time in the ocean, but what about swimming underwater with your eyes open?

Yes, you can open your eyes in the ocean.

It’s fun for many people, especially those who want to explore underwater rock formations, wildlife and reefs.

They also might enjoy seeing some of the world’s most exotic fish while spending time snorkeling below sea level.

You can see the ocean if you want, but you must beware of potential dangers.

ocean swimming

Should You Open Your Eyes In The Ocean? Is It Risky?

You might be wondering if it is safe for you to open your eyes in the ocean. Or if it’s too risky.

It depends on where you are.

According to Reader’s Digest, The Amazon River, Santa Monica Beach, and Blue Lagoon are some of the safest world beaches.

Others as reported on HuffPost include the following: Linapacan Island in the Philippines, Dog Island in Panama, and Phi Phi Island in Thailand.  

This names only a few locations where the water still is the see-through, two-toned, aquamarine color.

This typically signifies a healthy balance between natural resource preservation and enjoying the sun.

In other cases, swimming spots are so remote that they still intrigue experienced divers for a new underwater adventure.

If only a few tourists visit there yearly, chances are the water has less litter, pollution or pathogens in it.

You do, however, have to contend with other potential dangers.

Safety hinges on stings, attacks or allergies.

Even in places where plenty of people gather — such as Clearwater Beach in Florida or Maui, Hawaii, some people might swim unprotected with eyes open and have no issues.

Allergies are part of the reason for the varying sting reactions.

However, eye irritation or pain also hinges on what type of animals are present in the water.

Animals could cause eye injuries.

Jellyfish and sharks are two common concerns.

Even if an underwater animal stings some people, they might tough it out for a couple of hours and then feel fine.

For others, a sting might require doctor-recommended treatment.

Even if a shark doesn’t bite you, they could perhaps not even realize you’re there and collide into you, which could cause eye injuries.

Some fish also have prickly surfaces that could poke out your eye if you don’t stay protected.

You usually don’t have to worry, however, because most popular beaches do have lifeguards and professionals looking out for dangerous animals.

Still, you never know what could happen while snorkeling or diving, and the correct underwater eyewear provides at least a little extra protection.

Eye condition matters.

If you have sight issues, it could affect how you maneuver underwater.

This is part of the reason most eye doctors recommend not using contacts in the ocean.

Not only could you lose your contacts, but trying to navigate below sea level can also cause more eye irritation than swimming with no eye aids.

You can, however, still enjoy open-eye swimming even if you need prescription lenses.

Ocean Swimming Safety Tips

You can use prescription or non-prescription safety goggles to shield your eyes while you swim underwater.

Your protective eyewear also will provide an extra barrier just in case you come in contact with some corals or a school of fish.

Nowadays, you can even find UV-protective sunglasses that still allow enough light in as you experience the underworld.

Additional ocean swimming tips:

  • Choose swim spots you know and trust. The Center for Disease Control and just about every eye specialist out there urges you to swim in spots you know. The rise of contaminates within the past two decades has been reported, so be careful. If you don’t know the place, learn more about it before proceeding.
  • If you haven’t been there yet, research before going. Of course, it might be boring to always swim at the same place all the time. You can still have an adventure even if prepared. Find out as much as possible about where you plan to swim, dive or explore underwater. For your health and safety, you also will want to find out what is and what is not prohibited in certain tourist spots.
  • Clean your eyes after swimming. Licensed professionals recommend that you flush your eyes with artificial tears after you swim. The next-best thing would probably be room temperature water, but if you have access, you might want to use purified or distilled water.
  • Adhere to all public warning signs. In some places, you might be allowed to swim. However, there might not be a lifeguard on duty. These instances mean that you can enter the water, but you would do so at your own risk. Warnings might include possible presence of stinging animals such as jellyfish, stingrays or stonefish and scorpion fishes among others.
  • Don’t swim where it says “no swimming.” This last point might seem obvious, but it never hurts to be reminded that you’re taking a risk when you ignore “no swimming” signs. You have no idea why you shouldn’t swim there. It could be a nuclear dump site or an accidental oil spill, or attack sharks might reside there. Just don’t do it — or if you do, accept that you are putting yourself in danger.

Bonus Tip: Swim Where a Lifeguard is on Duty

This might not always be possible for experienced divers who want to investigate uncharted geographical territory.

If that’s you, you will require a different set of precautions than perhaps a first-time snorkeler.

In any case, your chances of remaining safe increase when you swim where lifeguards are on duty — especially if you also bring your goggles.