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July 7, 2021
5 min. read

Your Summer Eye Protection Guide

Medly

The sun is shining and eye protection is more likely on your mind now that summer is in full swing. We’re spending more time outside enjoying the warm weather and that means taking special summer precautions. We all know how important it is to protect our skin from the intense rays of the sun, but what about our eyes?

Using sunscreen on your skin to block out harmful UV light protects us and lessens the risk of skin cancer. But what types of eye protection are important now and throughout the year? Thankfully it’s relatively easy and inexpensive to incorporate summer eye protection and safety into your laidback summertime lifestyle.

Eye Protection Essentials for Summer

Sunglasses It’s almost instinctive that before we go outside in the sun, we grab a pair of sunglasses. Not only do they make it easier to see in the bright light of day, but they also make it much more pleasant to be outside on a bright sunny day.

The right kind of sunglasses will also protect your eyes. Did you know your eyes need just as much sun protection as your skin. It’s not just direct sunlight either. Ultraviolet radiation can also affect our eyes if it’s reflected off of bright colored surfaces.

The key to wearing sunglasses is you need to wear them consistently. (Even on cloudy days!) It’s the only way to protect your eyes 100% of the time you’re in the sun. They don’t have to be an expensive brand. Just make sure they provide protection from UVA and UVB rays.

sunglasses

Potential Threats to Your Eyes From UV Rays:

  • Macular Degeneration: occurs as a symptom of damage to the retina from overexposure to UV rays and can lead to eventual loss of sight later in life.
  • Cataracts: The lens of the eye becomes cloudy and affects the vision and how the eye processes light images. UV-B rays have a greater negative effect on the eyes. At least 10% of patients suffering from cataracts are caused by overexposure to UV rays.
  • Pterygium: This is a growth that appears on the tissues over the white part of your eyeball. Sometimes referred to as surfer’s eye, it is also attributed to over-exposure to UV light from the sun’s rays. However, the good news is, it is noncancerous.
  • Skin Cancer: In many cases, prolonged exposure to UV light from the sun can cause cancer in the skin near the eyes.
  • Photokeratitis: This can occur after prolonged high-intensity exposure to the sun’s UV rays. Bright reflective surfaces such as water or snow can intensify this condition. Sometimes referred to as being “snow blind” from the cornea actually getting a sunburn. It can cause temporary loss of vision and can be extremely painful.

sun protection

Wear A Hat UV light can get around the lenses of sunglasses and affect your eyelids and the skin around the eyes. Those gaps are where light exposure occurs. Wear a hat that has a wide brim. Wearing a hat in conjunction with sunglasses will greatly decrease your overall exposure to the sun’s rays.

Outdoor Activities Dust, sand, pollen, and insects are a few of the natural elements that can affect your eye health. But outdoor activities that can cause damage could be lawn work, chopping wood, or painting. It’s crucial to always have protective eyewear on when performing these functions. You never know what could drip or fly up into your eye causing corneal damage. Even a tiny abrasion to the eye’s surface can be painful. Prevention is key, and protective eyewear is an easy and effective way to stay safe.

patient provider

Summer Eye Protection for Children

Many of us wished we had taken better care of our eyes and skin in our youth. Most of the exposure you ever had to the sun was when you were young. All those summers off and playing outside is when the damage began. Most kids like to be outside, and that’s when the most UV exposure occurs. But like us, they need to be mindful of the sun’s rays. Wearing sunscreen, comfortable hats, and sunglasses will put them on the road to healthy eyes and skin for the future.

Goggles at the Pool Kids love going to the pool during the summer months. But what’s in that pool to keep the water clean and safe from harmful bacteria? Chemicals. It’s a necessary procedure to ensure the health of bathers but chlorine can irritate your eyes.

Invest in a few pairs of goggles for yourself and your children. It’s not just swimming pools. Lakes, rivers, and the ocean can all contain contaminants that can irritate your eyes. Put those goggles on and you’ll not only have improved vision while submerged, but you’ll keep your eyes safe from foreign matter that could cause irritation.

eye drops

What are the Best Ways to Keep Eyes Healthy in the Summer

Eye Drops Eye drops are a welcome relief to dry or irritated eyes. Pollen and allergies can be major culprits to dry irritated eyes. Ketotifen drops are antihistamine drops that can offer relief from the pain and itchiness of summertime allergies.

Hand Washing and Rubbing Your Eyes

We’ve all learned the importance of washing our hands on a daily basis to protect us from the spread of viruses and communicable diseases. Your eyes can be a gateway to germs and disease. Touching an object that was handled by another person and then rubbing your eyes, could put you at risk. This is how Conjunctivitis or pink eye is often spread.

Eat Right for Eye Health We know that we are what we eat and diet has an effect on every part of our bodies. Healthy eating habits can improve your vision and the overall health of your eyes. There are antioxidants like zeaxanthin and lutein that assist in your natural immune resistance to developing cataracts and macular degeneration.

Any foods that contain zinc, Vitamin E and C may help keep eyes healthy and reduce the risks of macular degeneration. Having a proactive plan in place to ensure your eyes stay healthy this summer is imperative to you and your family. Protective eyewear, hats, and being mindful when handling chemicals will reduce your chances of any damage this summer. You only get one set of eyes. Take care of them!

Sources: How to Keep Your Eyes Safe in the Summer Sun Summer Eye Care Summer Eye Safety

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