As the sun shines brighter and the days grow longer, summertime brings with it endless opportunities for fun and adventure. From sunbathing on sandy beaches to splashing around in sparkling pools, there are a variety of activities that make summer a very popular season. However, amidst all the excitement, it's crucial not to overlook the importance of protecting your eyes!
In this blog post, we'll dive into everything you need to know about summertime eye safety, including essential tips for keeping your vision clear and healthy all season long. So grab your sunglasses and let's explore the world of eye safety, as you prepare to make the most out of your sunny escapades!
Shield Your Eyes From the Sun
When you think about wearing eye protection, you might imagine the safety goggles or face shields that certain workers, like welders or woodworkers, use. Though this kind of protective equipment is vital for preventing job-related eye injuries, you don't have to be on the clock to wear eye protection—you just need a pair of sunglasses!
In addition to giving us the visible light that makes the summertime so enjoyable, the sun also emits several kinds of radiation, including ultraviolet (UV) radiation. UV exposure has been linked to eye diseases like cataracts, so it's important to wear sunglasses that offer adequate protection against UV rays when you're spending time outdoors. Specifically, look for sunglasses that have a “UV400” or “100% UVA/UVB blocking” label.
In addition to damaging our eyes, you probably already know how damaging UV rays can be to our skin. The number one way to protect yourself from UV-related skin damage is, of course, sunscreen! That said, it's important to be mindful when applying sunscreen to your face. Though spray sunscreen is convenient, it's better to use a cream or lotion on your face so that you don't risk accidentally getting it into your eyes.
If you're worried about the skin around your eyes getting sunburned, even with your sunglasses on, you can also wear a wide-brimmed hat. After all, sun hats are more than just a fashion statement—they offer your eyes and face some extra UV protection, too!
Stay Safe at the Beach
If you're headed to the beach this summer, you might want to consider sunglasses that have an extra layer of protection: polarization. Polarized sunglasses cut down on glare, which can reduce eye strain and make it easier to see your surroundings. Plus, polarized lenses also help reduce the amount of light that passes through, providing a bit more eye protection than regular sunglasses.
Sunglasses can also help you avoid a common eye injury amongst beachgoers: photokeratitis, or sunburned eyes. This condition can occur as a result of staring directly into the sun, but more commonly, it's caused by light reflecting off highly-reflective surfaces like snow, sand, and water. The UV rays that bounce off these surfaces and reach the eye can ultimately cause a painful burn, redness, blurry vision, and even temporary vision loss. Luckily, your sunglasses can help block and protect your eyes from these reflected UV rays.
That said, quality sunglasses aren't the only eye safety equipment you'll want to pack. If you plan on getting in the water, swim goggles are essential for protecting your eyes from sand and bacteria on the beach and in the ocean. In addition, while it's best to not wear contact lenses while swimming, we know that it's tempting. However, it's important to understand that if you get water into your eyes while swimming, bacteria and microorganisms might get stuck underneath your lenses and cause an eye infection. If you can't resist, be absolutely sure to wear goggles.
Just like at the beach, sunglasses are a must when you visit the pool, and so are swim goggles if you'll be spending time in the water. Here, goggles will help protect your eyes from chlorine, which can cause irritation, dryness, and even infection. You can even get prescription goggles, or goggles with UV protection and polarized lenses, to give your eyes an extra layer of protection.
It can also be helpful to avoid the pool during peak UV hours, which is typically between 10 am and 3 pm. During this time, not only is the pool typically the most crowded, but the sun is at its highest intensity and can be more damaging to the skin and eyes. If possible, try to plan your pool activities for earlier or later in the day when UV exposure is lower.
Avoid Eye Injuries in the Backyard
The nice weather also provides a lot of great opportunities to spend time outside doing yard work. But don't forget to wear personal protective eyewear, if the task requires it! Yard work, especially if it involves power tools, can lead to a lot of debris flying around, so be sure to wear safety glasses or goggles at all times. This will help protect your eyes from wood chips, dust particles, pieces of metal, nails, and other objects that can cause injury.
It's also important to be aware of the sun when working in your yard or garden. Though you may not be spending as much time in the sun as you would on a beach vacation, UV exposure can still be high and can easily sneak up on you. So, remember to always throw on your favorite pair of sunglasses and a sun hat if you plan on spending any length of time working outside.
Eye Safety with Your Eye Doctor!
If you do run into any issues with your eyes this summer, from photokeratitis to an eye injury caused by sand or backyard debris, the Everett & Hurite team will be here for you. Additionally, if you're going on vacation, be sure to look up nearby eye doctor's offices before going. That way, if you do require any emergency medical treatment for your eyes, you'll be prepared!
In addition, summer marks the halfway point of the year, so if you haven't already scheduled your routine eye exam with us, now is the perfect time to do so! Routine eye exams are essential for your eye health, as they're the only way to catch eye diseases like glaucoma, macular degeneration, and retinopathy early before they can cause severe damage. These conditions are especially important to be aware of, as they can potentially lead to permanent vision loss.
Luckily, the experienced ophthalmologists at Everett & Hurite can help diagnose, treat, and manage any eye disease. Plus, during your visit, our office can help you find the perfect pair of sunglasses, as well as answer any questions you may have about how to best protect your eyes, no matter the time of year. Contact us today to learn how we can help you keep your eyes healthy and safe this summer and beyond!
Our team is dedicated to helping you maintain your eye health, providing the best possible vision care, and offering the most up-to-date treatments and technologies available. today; we look forward to seeing you soon!