Protect Your Eyes

Eye-Opening Information: How to Protect Your Eyes from Summertime Dangers

Summer is a great time for vacations, relaxing and outdoor fun. It's good to forget about the cares of the day! But remember the simple things you need to do to protect your eyes. Bright sunshine, power mowers, fireworks, and pool chemicals can mean a risk of eye injury. Here are smart tips to protect your eyes that you might want to start following now.

Wear Ultraviolet (UV) protected sunglasses and a hat with a brim

People may be getting used to protecting their skin from UV rays with sunscreen. But our eyes need protection, too. Wear UV protected sunglasses and a hat with a brim to shield your eyes from the sun’s rays.

UV rays can cause short-term and long-term damage to the eyes. The American Optometric Association (AOA) says the effects of exposure to sunlight build over time. There seems to be a strong link between sun exposure and a number of serious eye problems.1 It’s important for people at any age to protect their eyes. Tell your children and grandchildren to wear sunglasses and a hat with a brim in the sun too.

The following tips from the AOA can help prevent damage from UV light:1

  • Wear protective eyewear any time you are out in the sun.
  • Look for quality sunglasses that offer good protection. Sunglasses should block 99 to 100 percent of UV rays. They should also screen out 75 to 90 percent of visible light.
  • Check to make sure sunglasses are free of distortion and scratches.
  • Buy gray-colored lenses. They reduce light without changing the color of objects, for the most natural color vision.
  • Remind others to wear sunglasses too.

Have trouble getting your grandchildren to wear sunglasses?

Let your grandchildren pick out their sunglasses to get them involved in protecting their eyes. If they like the sunglasses, they may be more likely to use them. The sunglasses don’t have to be expensive, but make sure they are labeled “100 percent UV filtration.” Set a good example for your grandchildren and wear sunglasses yourself too.

Protecting your eyes from the sun is just one way to keep them safe in the summer. Here are other important tips, below.

Wear eye protection when doing home projects

Mowing the lawn, trimming weeds, sawing, hammering nails, and chopping wood all send debris flying. The person doing the activity and all those nearby should wear eye protection. This means professional quality goggles from a home supply store.

Protect your eyes during sports and games

It’s important to keep your eyes safe during sports and physical activity, especially if you have balls flying at your face. Smaller balls, like baseballs or tennis balls, may be more likely to reach your eyes and cause damage because of their size. Of course, other sports and games can be dangerous to eyes as well. They include playing with pellet or dart guns, archery and paintball. Always be watchful and wear protective eyewear when you’re involved in these activities. Ask your children and grandchildren to do the same.

Watch out for chemicals, certain plants, and insect bites

If pool water stings your eyes, it’s probably because of the chemicals. Rinse your eyes immediately with clean water when this happens. And don't wear contact lenses in lake or pond water. Infections can result from germs that stay under the lens. These germs would be likely to wash out if no contact was in place.

In addition, be very careful around poison ivy, oak and sumac. If you get in contact with any of these plants, wash yourself off immediately before the plant’s oil gets in your eyes. Insect bites around the eyes can cause problems, too. Just be careful not to get repellant into your eyes.

Always leave fireworks to the pros

The statistics tell the story. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, thousands of people, many of them children, suffer from eye injuries caused by fireworks every year.2 Be careful around fireworks and wear protective eyewear. Try attending a professional fireworks show instead of purchasing them to use at home. Never let children play with fireworks. If an eye injury results from fireworks, seek medical attention immediately.

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