It’s summertime, and that means it’s time for barbecues, vacations, and warm weather. However, the summer is also harder on one’s eyes compared to other seasons due to the high heat, extra sunniness, which means a higher UV index, and the risks certain activities such as swimming, sunbathing, and fireworks expose your eyes to. But don’t worry! There are easy ways to protect your eyes during the summer.
Best Forms of Eye Protection
Even if you think the sun doesn’t bother your eyes, it’s still a good idea to wear a pair of sunglasses, as they provide protection from the Sun’s UV rays. These UV rays can cause damage to your eyes, especially during the summer. That being said, there are many different types of sunglasses, so it is important to find a pair that is right for you.
Some examples include polarized sunglasses, which reduce glare from light that reflects off surfaces, wrap-around sunglasses, which can protect your eyes from UV light coming from the sides as well as in front of you, and gradient sunglasses, which are tinted to shield your eyes from light in different directions. It’s not just adults that need sunglasses either, it’s important for kids to protect their eyes as well.
If you want some extra protection, or if you usually wear eyeglasses or contact lenses, then it might be worth considering UV-blocking contacts. While sunglasses do a good job of blocking UV light, they don’t block everything, so wearing UV contacts alongside them can keep your eyes safe, especially if you plan on being outside for a long time.
Another simple option for extra eye protection is wearing a brimmed hat, such as a baseball cap or a sunhat. Darker colored hats do a better job of protecting you from UV lights. If you do wear a hat, though, make sure that there aren’t any large holes in the fabric, as that can let the sunlight through.
Save Your Eyes From the Summer Heat
It’s not just the light of the sun that can cause damage to your eyes, the summer heat can also have negative effects, too. Common heat-induced eye issues include conjunctivitis (a contagious bacterial infection that causes watery and red eyes, as well as a prickly feeling and a sticky discharge), styes (a common bacterial infection, especially in children, that causes painful swelling on the eyelids) and dry eye (when the fluid in eyes evaporates faster because of high temperatures, causing irritation and burning, more common in people who’ve had eye disease in the past).
Thankfully, there are several measures you can take to help protect yourself and your family. If you go swimming, especially in a public pool, make sure to wear goggles to protect your eyes underwater. If you’re in a group at the pool, lake, or beach, try not to share towels. If you plan on being outside for most of the day, don’t forget to wear good UV-blocking sunglasses.
Try not to touch your eyes, but if you must, be sure to wash your hands with soap and water before doing so. Most importantly, remember to stay hydrated, as drinking water will provide more fluid to your eyes. If you or a loved one ends up contracting one of the conditions listed above, be sure to schedule an appointment with an eye doctor to discuss treatment options.
Protect Your Eyes From Fireworks
A highlight of many people’s summers is the Fourth of July, where fireworks are on display almost all day long. However, fireworks, while pretty to look at, are also incredibly dangerous if mishandled, and can cause serious injuries, including eye injuries such as eyeball ruptures, chemical burns, and eye bleeding.
It’s not just the people who are launching the fireworks that are at risk either, as onlookers account for half of all firework related injuries. If you’re launching fireworks at home, it’s a good idea for you and anyone standing near the launch site to wear some kind of eye protection. You should also keep a bucket of water handy to put out any sudden fires. Kids shouldn’t launch fireworks, and if they want to use sparklers, they should do so in view of a parent or guardian and hold the sparkler an arms length away from themselves, in a safe area away from others. If a young child wants to celebrate, consider getting them glow sticks instead!
Watching an organized fireworks show is a much safer alternative to launching fireworks yourself, however you still need to take some safety precautions. Try to watch the show from at least 500 feet away from the launch site for eye safety—both from the explosions and the intensely bright light.
If you or someone you know does sustain an eye injury while watching or launching fireworks, seek medical attention immediately. As tempting as it can be to rub the injured eye or rinse it out, doing so can inadvertently make your injury worse. Avoid taking any pain medications before consulting a doctor as well. With a few easy precautions, you can enjoy fireworks without worrying about potential eye injuries!
Has the summer been hard on your eyes? It’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to eye damage from sun and heat, so be sure to request an appointment with the ilumin team this summer to get your eyes checked!