Every season affects our eyes in different ways. Here are some things you should know on how to take care of your eyes during the summer months.
Summertime Danger #1: UV-rays Exposure
We all know that excessive sun exposure is bad for the skin, causing pre-mature aging and putting us at risk of skin cancers. But did you know that your eyes can be damaged as well?
Spending a lot of time in the sun can lead to eye problems later in life such as cataracts, macular degeneration or growths on the eye (including cancer). However, it can also cause immediate damage such as a very painful burn of the cornea.
The abovementioned problems are caused by ultraviolet (UV) rays, which can be classified as UVA and UVB.
- UVA rays can pass through cornea and reach inside the eye to damage the lens and retina. They are linked to the formation of cataracts and macular degeneration.
- UVB rays affect us on the surface, causing wrinkles, sunburn and cancer (on both skin & eyes).
It is important to remember that UV rays penetrate through clouds so you are at risk even on hazy days. They also reflect off of surfaces such as water or sand, and this combined with direct exposure puts you at even greater risk.
So what can you do to protect yourself? It’s quite simple:
- Wear a wide brimmed hat whenever you are outside, it will protect your eyes and your face.
- Wear sunglasses with UV filter to limit the amount of UV rays reaching your eyes: the wraparound kind and protecting from 100% UV rays are the best.
* Not sure if your sunglasses are protecting you well enough? Ask your optician or eye doctor to test them for you.
- Never look directly at the sun, even during an eclipse, to avoid immediate harm to your eyes.
- Get your car windows tinted so that the harsh summer sun doesn’t hurt your eyes while you drive (it will keep your car cooler too).
- Do you wear prescription glasses? Then you should get a pair of prescription sunglasses to protect your eyes without sacrificing good eyesight.
Summertime Danger #2: Physical Injuries
The less obvious hazards to your eyes are summertime chores such as mowing the lawn or house renovations. You never know when something like a wood chip or a stone could hit your eye, causing irritation or even a cut in the eye (which could blind you!) You should also be careful when playing sports that involve small flying objects, such as badminton, paintball or baseball.
So what can you do?
Wear protective goggles! They may be uncomfortable or unattractive but better this than a visit to the ER with a stick poking out of your eye (ouch). You can easily find safety goggles at Home Depot for as cheap as $3.
And if you really don’t want to wear protective glasses, then at least put on good quality sunglasses. You don’t want to learn this the hard way after a visit to the ER.
Summertime Danger #3: Swimming
It is summertime and the temperatures tempt many of us to dive into a pool, lake or ocean to cool off. It feels great, but keep in mind that you should shield your eyes from whatever may be in the water.
If you enjoy diving in the water, it’s preferable if you wear swimming goggles. They are very inexpensive, for under $10 you can get a pair that will save your eyes from the harshness of chlorine or the sting of saltwater.
Be especially wary of public pools. You don’t know if they are being properly maintained nor who does what in them (such as pee… yuck!). If your eyes sting after swimming in a pool, then rinse them with clean water and don’t go back in as the chemicals in the water may not be balanced properly.
Avoid wearing contact lenses when swimming in pools or lakes since the dirty water can increase your chance of eye infection as it may get stuck under the lens. Plus you may lose the lens. So make sure to use swimming goggles or snorkel mask – your eyes will thank you for it.
You must wear sunglasses to protect your eyes when you are on the beach, since as previously mentioned, UV rays reflect off of water and sand to give your extra UV ray exposure
I hope this brief article helps to keep you safe this summer. Thank you for taking the time to read it. Enjoy summer!
And if you want to learn more about how to take better care of your eyes or even improve your vision naturally, I encourage you to read some of the other articles.