Why Do Swimmers Put Milk in Their Eyes? (Yes, You Read That Right)

Sometimes it is hard to understand why swimmers do what they do. For example, why do they put milk, of all things, in their eyes after swimming?

Sughnen Yongo - Author

May 31 2023, Published 1:59 p.m. ET

Image of synchronized Swimmers
Source: Getty Images

Picture this: You're at your local swimming pool, minding your own business, when suddenly you spot a swimmer casually putting drops of milk into their eyes. You rub your own eyes in disbelief, thinking, "What on Earth are they doing?" The good news is that in spite of how bizarre this may look to you, there's actually some method to this madness that some swimmers swear by!

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Before we dive headfirst into the mysterious world of swimmers and their peculiar practice of milk application in the eyes, it is important to note that this bizarre aquatic phenomenon has been around for quite a while. Believe it or not, swimmers have been using milk as a natural remedy to combat a pesky condition often linked to prolonged swimming. So what is this condition?

Senior man swimming in pool, underwater view
Source: Getty Images
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Why do swimmers put milk in their eyes?

As those who frequently swim might tell you, "swimmer's eye" or "chlorine eye" is a condition that some swimmers have to deal with, Chlorine is a common disinfectant found in swimming pools, and while it keeps the water clean, it can wreak havoc on our delicate peepers. Swimmers often complain about redness, itching, and irritation in their eyes after a dip in the pool, and that's where the milk comes in.

Milk contains a protein called casein, which has been found to have soothing properties. When a certain type of milk (more on that in a moment!) is applied to the eyes, it can help to relieve the discomfort that is frequently caused by the chlorine. The coolness of the milk also provides a refreshing sensation, giving those weary eyes a much-needed break. It's like a mini spa treatment for a swimmer's opticals!

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Still shot of swimmer in water
Source: Getty Images

Now, before you grab a carton of milk and start squirting it all over your face, there are a few things you need to know. First, it's important to use clean, pasteurized milk to avoid unwanted bacteria making a surprise appearance in your eyes. Secondly, diluting the milk with water is recommended to create a gentler solution. After all, we want to treat our eyes kindly, not shock them with a full blast of creamy goodness!

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So, how does one go about applying milk to their eyes? It's as simple as pouring the diluted milk into a small cup or bowl, then using a clean dropper or a sterile cotton ball to carefully apply a few drops or dab it gently around your eyes. Remember, folks: This is not a milk bath for your entire face, just a targeted treatment for the eyes.

You might be thinking, "Is milk really the best solution for swimmer's eye?" Well, the answer isn't as clear as the crystal blue water in a pristine swimming pool. While some swear by the milk method, others argue that more effective remedies exist. Eye drops specifically formulated to relieve irritation caused by chlorine might be a better option for some swimmers.

Whether you choose to give it a whirl or stick to traditional eye drops, the choice is yours. Just remember to prioritize your eye health and enjoy your time in the water, with or without a splash of dairy goodness. Happy swimming!

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