Eye protection during the summer months is very important to preserve and protect your vision. Young and old should follow a few easy to remember guidelines. During this time of year, the sun rises early and sets late into the evening. Protecting your eyes from the harmful suns rays is key to healthy eyes.
UV Rays and Your Eyes
Ultraviolet light or better known as “UV Rays” damage your eyes. people don’t notice it happening, but it occurs over years of exposure to the suns rays. Exposure to UV Rays can put you at risk for cataracts, macular degeneration, and other serious eye conditions. No one is spared when it comes to UV Rays. They damage eyes in young children as well as the elderly. Studies have shown that young children and people with fair skin and lighter eyes are at an even higher risk to UV Rays.
How to Protect Your Eyes from Damaging UV Rays
There are two key ways to protect your eyes during the bright summer months.
- Wear UVA/UVB Sunglasses – Wearing sunglasses is key even on cloudy days. However, not all sunglasses are the same. You must wear sunglasses that provide 100% UVA and UVB protection. Without these markings, you are not fully protecting your eyes! Young and old should wear UVA/UVB sunglasses when outdoors.
- If you don’t have sunglasses or forget to bring them along, protect your eyes by wearing a hat with a brim or visor that will shade your face. This will help block some of the sunlight from your eyes.
Your Eyes and the Swimming Pool
If you simply enjoy a cooling dip in the pool or a good workout swimming laps you may have experienced the burning, stinging, and redness of what is called “swimmers eye”. The pool is a great way to cool down during the hot summer and is also a great form of exercise. However, the pool is hard on your eyes.
The chlorine and other chemicals used in pools wash away the clear thin layer of tear film in your eye causing your eyes to be uncomfortable and red. Individuals who swim frequently are at a higher risk of developing “dry eye”, a condition where your eyes don’t produce enough tears to moisturize your eyes leaving your eyes feeling like they have grit in your eyes. Your vision may also become blurry.
Protect your eyes from the harmful pool water by following these simple ways.
- Wear a pair of swim goggles every time you swim. Ensure you wear UVA/UVB goggles to also protect your eyes from the UV Rays while in the pool. Goggles will keep the pool water out of your eyes which will keep your eyes tear film healthy.
- Wash your eyes with fresh clean water immediately after swimming. This will help your eyes by washing the chlorine and other harmful chemicals off your eyelashes and eyelids.
- Use eye drops to help lubricate your eyes before and after swimming to keep your eyes tear film balanced. Use an over-the-counter lubricating eye drop. People who already have dry eye can use “gel tears”. Using gel tears puts a thicker artificial tear which helps protect your eyes. These can also be used in conjunction with swim goggles.
- Don’t wear contact lenses while swimming. Wearing contacts in any type of water can put you at risk for corneal infection. Bacteria can grow on the lenses even after one short swim.
- Keep Hydrated – remember to drink lots of water. Keeping well hydrated is important to keep your eyes comfortable and moist at the swimming pool.
Summer is a wonderful time enjoy the nice weather. But be smart — protect your eyes. If for any reason you feel like something is bothering your eyes or if you have any of the following eye symptoms, see Dr. Anthony Roberts or your ophthalmologist right away!
- Eye swelling
- Blurry vision
- Discharge from your eye
- Sensitivity to light
- The sensation of having something in your eye