It’s summertime, and with summer comes many great warm weather activities and adventures. With so much to see and do and so much daylight to do it in, summer puts very specific demands on your vision. In order to enjoy your favorite outdoor activities during the summer months while still protecting your eyes, here are some important tips to remember:
Sun Protection from UV Exposure
Each summer, people take great care to protect their skin from the risk of skin cancer and pre-mature aging, but they often forget that the same UV radiation can damage their eyes as well. Without protection, spending long periods in the sun can burn your cornea and lead to other problems such as cataracts and macular degeneration in later years.
- Wear a good pair of sunglasses, labeled 100% UV protection (or UV400). Choose a wrap-around style to ensure that the sun’s rays can’t enter from the side. If you’re wearing UV-blocking contact lenses, you’ll still need to wear UV-blocking sunglasses.
- When at the beach, amusement park, boating or anywhere with extended sun exposure, be sure to increase your protection by wearing a wide-brimmed hat along with your sunglasses.
- Don’t be deceived by a cloudy day. On overcast days, UV can still reach your eyes and cause damage. Wear sunglasses even when it’s cloudy.
- Remember that the sun’s rays are strongest at mid-day, at higher altitudes, and when reflected off water.
- And if you’ve had LASIK, wearing sunglasses is important to protect the investment you’ve made in your vision.
Eye Safety in the Water
For most of us here in Charleston, summertime means swim time. Whether it’s a visit to the beach or community pool, swimming can be a fun, inexpensive way to stay cool. But being in the water also brings a variety of issues for your eyes. And having vision problems can definitely put a damper on all the splashy fun to be had during the summer. If you require corrective lenses to see well the reality is, frankly, glasses don’t function well in the water, and contacts absolutely shouldn’t be worn in the water. Chlorine in swimming pools can irritate your eyes and cause conjunctivitis. Swimming in polluted lakes, ponds or the ocean can cause bacterial infections. To protect your eyes from exposure to chlorine and bacteria, be sure to wear eye goggles that fit properly.
Sports and Outdoor Safety
Summer is the high season for recreational sports, whether it’s a pick-up game of football with friends and family in the front yard or an organized baseball league at the park. Whatever game appeals to you, you are safer if you can see well, and for many, that means being prepared with glasses or contacts. It may not be spontaneous, but it is a whole lot better for you in the long run. Many sport-related eye injuries occur in sports using small balls, like badminton, baseball, paintball, or golf. Protective goggles, masks, and helmets for almost any sport can be found at your local sporting goods store.
Although we may not think about it, many summer home improvement projects can wreak havoc on unprotected eyes. Mowing the lawn, hammering nails, or using power tools can send objects flying unexpectedly at high speed, potentially hitting you in the face and causing serious damage. Use shatter-resistant safety goggles from a home supply store to provide protection from injuries or accidents.
Going on an Adventure
There is something about summer that makes you want to get out and do things – which is easier to do with great vision at the ready. But, if you rely on glasses or contacts, be sure your purse, backpack, or suitcase has what you need to take care of those investments – as well as your eyes – while you are out and about. If you want to take advantage of the longer days of summer and make the most of those pack-and-go opportunities, you may not want to worry about your glasses and contacts. If so, it is a good time to talk to your eye doctor about your vision correction options.
Enjoy Fireworks from Afar
Every summer, fireworks provide a beautiful ending to our Fourth of July celebrations. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, there are nearly 2,000 eye injuries every year from fireworks, with one-third of those injuries causing permanent eye damage. Most eye injuries come from sparklers, fountains, Roman candles and other fireworks purchased and used at home. Please protect your eyesight by leaving the fireworks to the professionals and enjoying their spectacular displays.
Summer is the perfect time to get out and enjoy the weather and your favorite outdoor activities. While these safety tips are important for everyone, those who rely on glasses or contacts to see well have specific challenges. Prescription goggles and sunglasses can be expensive, but necessary to protect your eyes. With all the fun to be had, it is not surprising that summertime has many people with vision problems considering laser vision correction options such as LASIK. If you are ready to enjoy all that summer offers with great vision, schedule a consultation with us to find out if you are a good candidate for LASIK.