Summer means more time spent outside in the warm weather, enjoying outdoor activities and barbecues. Unfortunately, summer also brings unique risks to the health of your eyes compared to other seasons. Just follow these six tips to protect and take care of your eyes this summer:
Don't Skimp on Quality Sunglasses
When it comes to sunglasses, don't give in to the temptation to buy something cheap that doesn't offer full UV protection because you're afraid you're just going to lose them anyway. In order to adequately protect your eyes from the sun's UV rays, you should look for sunglasses that are labeled as offering 100% UV protection.
Contrary to popular belief, you don't need to buy the darkest lenses you can find, as plenty of sunglasses with 100% UV protection come with lighter lenses, and many dark lenses do not offer full protection. Exposure to the sun without sufficient protection can lead to eye damage including cataracts and even painful corneal burns.
Get Your Seasonal Allergies Under Control
If you suffer from seasonal allergies in the summer, all of those itchy, watery eyes can lead to rubbing and scratching that can irritate and even damage your eyes. Over-the-counter allergy medication often comes with side effects like severe drowsiness, making these medications impractical for daily use. A better option is to get allergy injections or a prescription nasal spray (which help with itchy eyes as well as nasal congestion and sneezing) directly from your doctor.
Be sure to wash your hands, take a shower, and wash your clothes after being outdoors on days with high pollen counts.
Embrace Hats All Summer
While sunglasses are paramount, complementing them with sunray-blocking hats is also a smart idea. In addition to protecting your eyes, wearing hats all summer will help protect your face from damaging sunrays which can lead to skin cancer and premature aging.
Wear Eye Protection During Outdoor Home Projects
Summer tends to mean more time spent outside working on exterior home projects, which presents risks to your eye safety. Mowing the lawn can cause rocks and other debris to fly into the air and hit your eyes, and using power tools for home improvement projects or even chopping wood for campfires can lead to splinters in the eye. The simple solution to this problem is to pick up a pair of work goggles the next time you hit up a hardware or home improvement store and get into the habit of wearing them.
Use Goggles at the Swimming Pool
Summer wouldn't be the same without plenty of fun dips in the pool, but keep in mind that you should be wearing goggles any time you swim in chlorinated water. Chlorine is designed to kill bacteria and germs, but it can also be way too harsh for delicate eyes. In fact, studies have shown that frequent exposure to chlorinated water without protective goggles can lead to corneal cell damage. Children's eyes can be even more sensitive than adults', so if you have kids, make sure they have well-fitted goggles to wear during swim lessons and pool time.
Keep Your Eyes Hydrated
Hot, sunny days can quickly lead to dehydration, which in turn leads to dry, irritated eyes. The best way to hydrate your eyes is from within by drinking plenty of water every day, and extra water when you are outside in the sun. If your eyes still feel dry and uncomfortable, moisturizing eye drops can help a lot and stop you from rubbing your eyes excessively.
By following these tips, you will help ensure continued eye health and good vision this summer and for many summers to come. For more advice, talk to your eye doctor.