EYE PROTECTION TIPS FOR SUMMER
The long days of summer may conjure up images of lazing poolside or tossing the ball around with the kids, but the season also comes with its own set of eye safety concerns. So before you pack up your beach bag or stoke up the fire for that summer cookout, read on for tips on how to keep your and your family’s eyes happy and healthy all season long.
Wear the Right Sunglasses
Your shoulders and back aren’t the only parts of your body susceptible to sunburn: what about your corneas? Long hours spent in the sun’s harmful UV rays can result in a burn on the corneas (the transparent external coating of the eyes) when the eyes are left with no, or insufficient, protection. Sunburn on the corneas causes stinging, red, dry eyes, and its long-term effects may include the development of cataracts or macular degeneration.
Wearing a good pair of sunglasses with 100 percent UVA and UVB protection will block these harmful rays from entering the eyes. Sunglasses with larger frames and/or wraparound sunglasses will further protect the eyes from sun rays that may otherwise sneak in through the top or sides of the glasses.
Protect Eyes While Playing Summer Sports
Summertime sports can be a great time to spend with family in the great outdoors. But summer activities such as playing softball or soccer or swimming in the pool can come with dangers for the eyes. For outdoor sports that use a ball, the eyes should be protected against contact with the ball and other players. Sports goggles that have polycarbonate lenses can be worn to prevent impact on the eyes. Find goggles with anti-fog lenses that have 100 percent UV protection from the sun for outdoor sports.
Swimming in the pool can cause eye irritation and even infection as a result of the eyes’ contact with chlorine or other chemicals, or bacteria, in the water. A well-fitting pair of swim goggles that blocks water from getting in will protect your eyes from these harmful irritants. For outdoor swimming, find a pair of goggles with a slightly tinted lens, which will protect the eyes from the sun’s UV rays that are reflecting off the water’s surface.
Keep Eyes Clear of Chemicals and Irritants
The extra activity of summertime also comes with a slew of eye irritants. Sunscreen can easily migrate from your hands or sweat-dripping face into your eyes. Or perhaps you’ve sprayed the family with mosquito-repellant to get ready for a nice afternoon hike and you accidentally got some in your eyes. Maybe a day at the beach has quickly turned into a nightmare when you get sand in your eyes.
If your eyes come in contact with chemicals or foreign objects, immediately flush them out with lukewarm water (after removing your contact lenses, if applicable) for at least 20 minutes, being careful not to rub the eyes in order to prevent further damage. In cases where harmful chemicals make contact with your eye, call your doctor or the local poison control center immediately.