Summer is in full swing, and so are your summertime activities. Whether you’re hanging out in the backyard pool or spending quality time outdoors with family, it’s important to remember your eye safety — no matter how much fun you are having.
From proper eye protection to swimming best practices, I'm sharing eight tips to follow for summer eye safety.
1. Sunglasses with Complete Ultraviolet Protection
Sunglasses are important to wear all year round, but they are essential during the summer. Make sure you are wearing sunglasses that are marked 100% Ultraviolet (UV) protection. UV protection helps block the harmful UV rays and keep your eyes healthy. The sun’s rays can pass through haze and clouds, so don’t forget your sunglasses on cloudy days.
2. Avoid Sunburned Eyes
Sunburned eyes, also known as photokeratitis, is a painful eye condition that occurs when your eye is exposed to UV rays, either from the sun or from a man-made source.
This can happen when sunlight shines off the water, sand, snow, or other highly reflective surfaces into your eyes. These UV rays burn the surface of your eye and can cause pain, redness, blurriness, and even temporary vision loss. To prevent photokeratitis, wear 100% UV protection sunglasses when outdoors and appropriate eye protection when working with UV light.
3. Keep Your Eyes Moisturized
When you’re spending time outdoors, the heat and dry winds can irritate your eyes and can cause a condition called dry eye. The summer environment affects the tear film of the eye, drying out your eye’s surface.
Dry eye is a common condition but you’re at a higher risk of experiencing dry eye if you wear contact lenses or suffer from seasonal allergies. To protect your eyes in these conditions, use artificial tears to keep your eyes moist and refreshed.
4. Follow Swimming Best Practices
Bodies of water such as lakes, rivers, and even swimming pools can be contaminated with bacteria and microorganisms. This makes it very risky to wear contact lenses while swimming because the organisms can get underneath the contacts and cause an infection.
Goggles can reduce the contamination and irritation, but it’s still a best practice to splash your eyes with fresh water after getting out of the pool.
5. Wear Eye Protection While Working Outside
The summer months are a great time for home improvement and yard work, but this is when many accidents can happen with your eyes. Before beginning work in the yard or around the house, be sure to clear the area of any debris that could become airborne and injure your eye.
Simply wearing protective eyewear can reduce your risk for eye injury by 90%. Try to find wrap-around eyewear that protects the eyes from the sides as well.
6. Keep Sunscreen Out of Your Eyes
During the summer, there’s a high chance you will get sunscreen or bug spray in your eyes. We’ve all had it happen to us and it’s very uncomfortable when it does. Next time, try to apply sunscreen very carefully and slowly around your face. Try to avoid your eyes and eyelids. Dermatologists recommend using mineral-based sunscreens because they stick to your skin and are less likely to run into your eyes.
If you do get sunscreen in your eyes, use fresh water to flush them out immediately.
7. Eat Healthy
Summer is an easier time to eat healthy fruits and vegetables. Tomatoes, zucchini, green peppers, melon, and peaches can be found just about anywhere and are great sources of healthy nutrients for your eyes. Omega-3 fatty acids benefit your eyes as well, so don’t forget to eat your seeds and nuts.
In addition, always drink plenty of water during the summer. Dehydration causes eye strain, which in turn can lead to blurry vision and blurred vision headaches.
8. Keep Up with Your Eye Appointments
Sourced from the Dean McGee Eye Institute