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Thread: pools looks great, but my eyes hurt

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    pools looks great, but my eyes hurt

    Hello all. I discovered this site about a month ago when I opened up my pool for the first time since taking ownership of our house. I've read all through pool school, as well as many threads in this forum, and feel pretty well versed on the TFP method. My pool looks perfect, and mostly is. But I like to swim underwater with my eyes open, and after less than half an hour of swimming in my pool, my eyes are red and dry.

    My pool had high CYA (160ppm) so I drained and refilled until now down to 45. Though early on I thought my CYA was 60, do to not having the best light while performing the test. Have since redone and confirmed lower, 45 for CYA. So when I opened the pool, I slammed it at the 60 CYA level, then once I passed the OCLT, I kept it at the levels for 60 CYA pool. I noticed my eyes hurting, and thought maybe I had my free chlorine level too high. I retested my CYA and found it was 45, and have been keeping my chlorine levels a little lower, about 5.5ppm. This evening, before sundown, it was down to 4ppm and I swam and still had red eyes afterwards.

    I've searched on this, and the only other thread I can find about red eyes is some person who winterized with RV antifreeze. I don't think my pool has ever had that done to it, I certainly didn't. I suppose it's possible that I'm just ultrasensitive to chlorine, but I'm wondering if anyone else has any ideas. Could my relatively high TA have something to do with it? Or is some amount of dry skin/eye redness normal? My numbers are below

    FC: 5.5
    CC: 0
    PH: 7.6
    TA: 180
    CH: 250
    CYA:45

    17,500 gallon IG Vinyl
    Pentair Tagelus TA60D Sand filter
    Pentair Challenger 1.5HP pump CFII N1 1.5A
    Taylor K-2006-A, Stenner 45MPHP10 auto chlorine feed

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: pools looks great, but my eyes hurt

    It is probably not the chlorine. Most folks point to CC and/or lack of salt. Try adding 1000 or 1500 ppm of salt, or more up to 3500.

    cause of red eye
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    Re: pools looks great, but my eyes hurt

    Also take a look at what does High/Low Ph do to your skin? post no 5
    Indoor 20x40 35,000 gallon vinyl pool with 1.5 HP 2 speed Jandy FloPro pump, Hayward EC75 Perflex DE filter, 11 4x12 Techno-Solis solar panels w/ Aquasolar controller, Aquabot Turbo T Robot Cleaner. Also LMI metering chlorine dispenser pump and HotSpring Jetsetter
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    needsajet's Avatar
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    Re: pools looks great, but my eyes hurt

    I agree with the prior posts and also swim with my eyes open. Take a look at this article...
    Swimming Teaching: Bloodshot Eyes After Swimming or Sore Eyes From Swimming?

    I tried this and it was hard to change. To teach myself, I kept my glasses by the pool and put them on as soon as I came up so I couldn't rub. I've now learned not to rub my eyes in the shower as well, and what I thought was reactions to soap and shampoo have also gone away. Good luck with the solution for your situation.
    12k IG salt; glass beads in plaster; K-2006C, K-1766, CCL, and Aussie 4in1 (HTH); Pentair Eco800 1.2HP VS; Zodiac SWC 1.3 lb/day (25 g/hr); 25" filter recycled glass; OKU solar panels; 1/2 HP solar pump; Rebel (Warrior) pool cleaner; FlowViz; prior pool AG 10k | Read Before Posting to get the best possible advice | ... and this helped me a lot!: TFPC for Beginners

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    Re: pools looks great, but my eyes hurt

    Very interesting links! I'm going to try not rubbing the eyes, and get the kids to stop as well. Kids don't complain about their eyes, but mine bother me. I think it might also be the face cream/eye cream I use running into my eyes when I jump into the pool.

    @pooldv - can you just add salt to a pool that is not a saltwater pool? Can you explain?
    28 ft round ABG with ~6ft deep end, approx. 20,000 gal, 2 spd 2 HP pump, sand filter

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    Re: pools looks great, but my eyes hurt

    Yes, you can add salt to any pool. The purpose of adding salt to get the water close to the salinity level of your eyes. The level of salt recommended is too low to cause corrosion issues and is very safe to use. Just make sure that you get pool salt or solar salt that is 99% pure.

    My eyes burn whenever I use my heavy face cream, but not when I use my light face cream. My eyes burn whenever I use sunscreens, too.

    Keeping a close eye on PH is important, too. I test PH everyday.
    Karen
    33K IG w spa plaster, Pentair 1HP Whisperflo, DE Filter, SWG CircuPool RJ-60, Dolphin Triton Plus, Raypak Dig 336K BTU, TF-100.
    Pool Math Chlorine / CYA Chart SLAM - Shock Level And Maintain
    2017 replaster/retile

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    Re: pools looks great, but my eyes hurt

    Awesome! I was a little worried that I might get pushback and say it was just me having this problem.

    I have to admit, I'm a little leary of adding salt to my pool if only because I have no way of testing how much salt is in there now, and adding an amount almost feels like it goes against the TFP code of only adding thinks you know the content of, and what the effect will be. But I suppose just 1500ppm or so wouldn't hurt one way or the other.

    The talk about pH was interesting for sure. I had always heard that the average pH of the human eye was 7.5, so that's what we kept the water at. It sounds like the truth is if the pH is too low, another chemical gets produced, thus causing red eyes and perhaps headaches. That is certainly not my issue.

    Which leads me to the talk about rubbing eyes. I totally do that, and I wouldn't be surprised if this is the sole reason for my problem. Yesterday when I went swimming, I didn't have the problem until halfway through my swim. Now that you talk about eye rubbing, it makes sense my problem got quite worse as I rubbed them more.

    I may try to abstain from rubbing my eyes and see if it helps before adding salt. But both suggestions sound like possible solutions to my problem. I use solar salt in my water softener, so if I need to add salt I can just grab a spare bag of that.

    17,500 gallon IG Vinyl
    Pentair Tagelus TA60D Sand filter
    Pentair Challenger 1.5HP pump CFII N1 1.5A
    Taylor K-2006-A, Stenner 45MPHP10 auto chlorine feed

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    Re: pools looks great, but my eyes hurt

    You can pick up some salt test strips for pretty cheap. You might have some salt in the pool already and liquid chlorine contains some salt, but not enough to get the comfort benefit.
    Karen
    33K IG w spa plaster, Pentair 1HP Whisperflo, DE Filter, SWG CircuPool RJ-60, Dolphin Triton Plus, Raypak Dig 336K BTU, TF-100.
    Pool Math Chlorine / CYA Chart SLAM - Shock Level And Maintain
    2017 replaster/retile

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    Re: pools looks great, but my eyes hurt

    As for the not rubbing your eyes I wear cheep sunglasses in the pool helps to have a physical barrier when I go to rub, reminds me why they are there before I take an unconscious action. Did take some time to get used to the water spots on the lenses but I hardly notice any more.
    12,300 Gallon, IG PebbleFina, 3 ft sheer, 2 Jandy nicheless LED lights, Jandy Pro 1.5HP VS pump (A.O. Smith Motor), PB4-60 Booster pump, Polaris 280, Jandy cv340 cartridge filter, Zodiac Z4 control panel W/iAquaLink, Stenner pumps for chlorine & MA connected to WiOn WiFi switches, TF-100. You can support TFP with AmazonSmile just click the link!

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    Re: pools looks great, but my eyes hurt

    Quote Originally Posted by kcindc View Post
    You can pick up some salt test strips for pretty cheap. You might have some salt in the pool already and liquid chlorine contains some salt, but not enough to get the comfort benefit.
    I am sure my water has salt in it, but not sure how much. Is there a good place to buy salt test strips locally? If I have to buy online, I think I'd rather just order the Taylor drop test kit. I have to run to Menards at lunch and thought I might be able to find some there, but the website doesn't show anything in stock but chlorine and 7 way tests.

    17,500 gallon IG Vinyl
    Pentair Tagelus TA60D Sand filter
    Pentair Challenger 1.5HP pump CFII N1 1.5A
    Taylor K-2006-A, Stenner 45MPHP10 auto chlorine feed

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    Re: pools looks great, but my eyes hurt

    A pool store might have them. I don't have a Menards so I can't help you.

    You can get the strips from Amazon in two days if you have Prime: Amazon.com : Aquachek White Salt Water Swimming Pool Test Strips : Salt For Pools : Patio, Lawn Garden

    Of course, you can always get the Taylor liquid test, too, but the for your use, the strips should be sufficient. Just make sure they do not get wet.
    Karen
    33K IG w spa plaster, Pentair 1HP Whisperflo, DE Filter, SWG CircuPool RJ-60, Dolphin Triton Plus, Raypak Dig 336K BTU, TF-100.
    Pool Math Chlorine / CYA Chart SLAM - Shock Level And Maintain
    2017 replaster/retile

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: pools looks great, but my eyes hurt

    Your pool probably has 500-1000 ppm of salt in it now. Salt up to 4000 ppm is common for saltwater pools. .
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    Re: pools looks great, but my eyes hurt

    What salt level would you guys recommend as a minimum to get things comfortable for my eyes? I swam again tonight, and didn't rub my eyes. It definitely helped, but my eyes were still a little red and irritated. So I guess salt is my next step. I'm thinking I'm just going to add 500ppm until things feel comfortable for me. I'm not really wanting to buy another test kit right now.

    17,500 gallon IG Vinyl
    Pentair Tagelus TA60D Sand filter
    Pentair Challenger 1.5HP pump CFII N1 1.5A
    Taylor K-2006-A, Stenner 45MPHP10 auto chlorine feed

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: pools looks great, but my eyes hurt

    2000 ppm is the recommended starting point for improved water feel.
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    Re: pools looks great, but my eyes hurt

    awesome, thanks for the info. I added a 40lb bag of solar salt from my water softener this evening. I'm a little worried that it may add to my TA, but I guess I can take that down with MA later.

    17,500 gallon IG Vinyl
    Pentair Tagelus TA60D Sand filter
    Pentair Challenger 1.5HP pump CFII N1 1.5A
    Taylor K-2006-A, Stenner 45MPHP10 auto chlorine feed

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    Re: pools looks great, but my eyes hurt

    If you're using bleach to chlorinate your pool, it also adds a little salt. There isnt a large build up of it though due to dilution by rain.
    So, there is likely at least some salt in there anyhow from the bleach.
    Divin Dave,
    IG Vinyl, 15' x 30', 3 1/2' - 6' deep, Oval, ~15K gal, Intelliclor IC40, Intelliflo VS pump, Clean and Clear 420 Filter, auto-fill-disabled, Retrofit LED Color Light, Dolphin Nautilus Robot, TF100 Test Kit, Taylor K1766 Salt Test Kit, Tftestkit Pressure Gauge.
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    Re: pools looks great, but my eyes hurt

    Quote Originally Posted by Divin Dave View Post
    If you're using bleach to chlorinate your pool, it also adds a little salt. There isnt a large build up of it though due to dilution by rain.
    So, there is likely at least some salt in there anyhow from the bleach.
    Agreed, though not much. I've only been on this site for 3 or 4 weeks maybe, and been through about 11 bottles of bleach so far between slamming and daily maintaining since then. When I opened the pool, I found my CYA was up real high around 160ppm. I drained and refilled and got it down to 50. The refill was from tap water that is high in CH and TA, but not salt. The water that was originally in the pool would have had some, but probably not a lot, and I replaced a lot of that water anyway with my drain and refill.

    I think I may take some water into a pool store tomorrow and get them to test it for me and tell me the salt content. Hopefully that'll give me an idea of what I'm dealing with, and I can pick up a Taylor salt test kit later. And I'm going to need to buy some more salt. I used my last bag earlier.

    17,500 gallon IG Vinyl
    Pentair Tagelus TA60D Sand filter
    Pentair Challenger 1.5HP pump CFII N1 1.5A
    Taylor K-2006-A, Stenner 45MPHP10 auto chlorine feed

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    Re: pools looks great, but my eyes hurt

    My local pool store charges twice what Lowes does for salt. The water softener salt is 99.9 % pure. Don't let pool store convince you that their salt is better.
    In ground, 14,000 gallon, white plaster, unheated, stone waterfall, DE Filter, Rainbow 320 Cl, Polaris 3900, FloVis flow meter, F100 test kit, Circupool RJ30+ SWG, Circupool VJ1/Speck Badu EcoM3V variable speed pump.

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    Re: pools looks great, but my eyes hurt

    My local ace hardware has the best price for water softener salt I've found, at just under $5 per bag. Home Depot and Lowes are both just over $5 I think. But I was looking at "pool salt" the other night and it looks like even home depot charges more for their pool salt.

    Part of me wants to go to said pool store to see if they have any of those aquacheck salt test strips. I can't seem to find them at any of the box stores around here. But after reading the other threads about bad batches from Leslie's and off readings, I'm not sure I trust them.

    17,500 gallon IG Vinyl
    Pentair Tagelus TA60D Sand filter
    Pentair Challenger 1.5HP pump CFII N1 1.5A
    Taylor K-2006-A, Stenner 45MPHP10 auto chlorine feed

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    Re: pools looks great, but my eyes hurt

    Just an update, I took my water in my taylor test kit tube to the local pool supply store and had them test it. Surprisingly they are accurate for most of the stuff, and they told me my salt level was 800ppm. She said "oh, your salt level is very low, you need 10 bags of salt" without even knowing what I was doing. I used pool math to figure out I needed 5 bags, and added them via a skimmer sock held in front of a return jet. I kind of wish I hadn't added them all, but what's done is done. After 3 or 4 hours of pump running, the water is slightly noticeably salty, but seemed easier on my eyes. the pH had risen though (probably due to the heavy rain we got this morning), so I added some MA to put it back down to 7.5.

    Anyway, I'll have a good weather day tomorrow to be able to spend time in the pool, so I'll know for sure if the problem is solved. But it's seeming like it is. I guess I'll get used to the salty taste. Or maybe I'll buy that taylor drop salt test and figure out for sure what my ppm is..I suspect I overshot the 2000ppm mark.

    17,500 gallon IG Vinyl
    Pentair Tagelus TA60D Sand filter
    Pentair Challenger 1.5HP pump CFII N1 1.5A
    Taylor K-2006-A, Stenner 45MPHP10 auto chlorine feed

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