Protecting Your Eyes: Summer Edition

Summer is a time many people look forward to all year round; longer days, vacations, and warmer weather are just to name a few of the qualities people love most about the season. It evokes the tingling feeling you get when the warm sun hits just right and the smell of sunscreen lingers in the air.

Just like how sunscreen helps protect your skin from the harmful UV rays, it is just as important to protect your eyes. Many people are familiar with the harmful effects these UV rays can have on their skin but are unaware of the damage it can do to their eyes. Long exposure to sunlight could increase risks of developing eye diseases such as cataracts and cancerous growths, or can result in photokeratitis, an eye sunburn.

None of the damages are worth risking a few hours of unprotected fun in the sun. They can be very painful or even detrimental over time. Here are a few recommendations to getting yourself and your loved ones protected this summer:

  1. Wear Sunglasses. Seems like common sense but it is important to find a pair that blocks both UVA and UVB rays. These are commonly labeled on sunglasses as UV400 or 100% UV protection.
  2. Wear A Hat. Sunglasses do not cover all areas of your eyes and can contain gaps that can expose your eyes to UV light.
  3. Clouds Don’t Block UV Light. Remember to wear your protective gear outside even when it’s cloudy. Sunlight might not pass through clouds but UV light can.
  4. Wear Goggles. Chlorine and ocean water can harm your eyes with exposure when swimming in them. Avoid swimming with contacts, it could cause bacteria to get trapped between your eyes and the lenses.
  5. Beware of Peak Hours. The sun is strongest from 10am to 2pm so make sure you got those shades on!
  6. Wash Hands and Avoid Rubbing Eyes. Summer brings more people outside so be sure to wash your hands frequently, especially before touching your eyes for any reason.
  7. Keep Eyes Moist. Blink more and use eye drops. Avoid high levels of air conditioning as it could dry your eyes out.

If you recently had LASIK or other eye procedures, be sure to practice these tips! After an eye surgery, your eyes are more susceptible to infection.

Keeping your eyes healthy doesn’t mean you can’t have fun. Get the most out of summer while keeping these eye protecting tips in mind.