Here comes the sun
Here comes the sun
It’s all right
It’s all right
–The Beatles, Abbey Road
Lounging around outdoors with a catchy tune is just one fun thing about summer. Houston and Austin are known for their sometimes stifling temperatures in these months, where the sun is constant and the urge to get that natural tan is, well, natural. There are thousands of types of sunblock for your skin but what can we do to protect our eyes, which are extremely vulnerable to the sun’s rays?
It’s alright. Here are six ways to effectively deal with eye care during summer:
Shades are your friend.
Wear sunglasses not only to look cool, but also for ultimate eye protection and eye care. Wear sunglasses with complete UV or ultraviolet protection. The best way to protect your eyes from UV exposure is to buy and consistently wear sunglasses with 100% protection against both UVA and UVB rays, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Polarized glasses can reduce glare, which is nice if you’re spending a lot of time on the water. Add a wide-brimmed hat that can reduce the sunlight that isn’t blocked by your sunglasses. Unless you’re using wrap-around sunglasses, which perform best, there are still areas where sunlight and UV rays can slip past. There are a wide variety of choices for inexpensive and more expensive sunglasses that offer 100% UV protection. And don’t forget to wear your shades on cloudy days as well.
Use goggles at the pool.
Maybe it doesn’t look cool, but it’s alright. It’s a wise idea to use goggles at the swimming pool, as the chlorine chemicals carry the potential to hurt your eyes; in fact, the chemicals can affect the natural tear film that keeps eyes moist and healthy. The results are red, gritty eyes and even blurred vision. A medical study revealed that frequent exposure to chlorine negatively affects the integrity of your corneal epithelium, which provides a layer of protection to your cornea from irritants and pathogens. Also, it’s a good idea to splash your eyes with fresh water immediately after getting out of the pool.
Don’t burn your eyes.
Prevent sunburn of the eye. You don’t want to be blinded by the light that shines off the water, sand or other highly reflective surfaces. Too much exposure can cause UV eye damage in the form of a very painful condition called photokeratitis or photo conjunctivitis. This is when the sun’s UV rays burn the surface of your eye. Continuous UV exposure may cause cataract development, pterygium (benign growth over the cornea), or skin cancer of the eyelids. Also, be sure to wash your hands on a regular basis to protect yourself from the spread of communicable diseases, for example conjunctivitis.
Keep children’s eyes safe.
Often, people realize later in adult life that they should’ve been protecting their eyes when they were young. It’s alright because you can start with your children. The World Health Organization reports that as much as 80% of a person’s lifetime UV exposure occurs by the age of 18 and that children’s annual dose of radiation may be up to three times that of adults. Compared to adults, children have larger pupils and they have clearer lenses, allowing more light into their eyes. According to The Vision Council, a child’s ocular lenses do not filter out UV light as efficiently as adults. This means children can sustain eye damage more readily. Take care of the kids with protective sunglasses and a hat!
Eat healthy, drink water.
It’s no surprise that what you eat has the power to affect how well you see. And it’s not just carrots that keep your eyes healthy. Fruits and vegetables, which contains lots of water, are your friends, especially during summer. Add foods or a supplement high in Vitamins A, C and E as well as zinc to boost your vision health. Additionally, during summer, people are prone to become more dehydrated, which can affect eyesight. Serious dehydration makes it harder for the body to produce tears, leading to dry eye and other vision problems. It’s alright to have water, water and more water.
Get adequate sleep.
A good night’s sleep is far underrated, for busy adults and children. Your eyes need proper rest, in fact, a solid 8 hours of sleep per night is recommended during summer months. It’s alright to shave this by an hour or so, to ensure you don’t miss out on anything. Your body knows how much summer sleep you need, so pay attention.
At Mann Eye Institute, we say it’s alright to make eye care a special priority during summer. So, pass the tanning lotion and wear those sunglasses and hats! And, as summer winds down, start thinking about scheduling a regular eye exam before the start of school and a heavier work schedule. If you have any immediate concerns about summer eye care, contact our expert ophthalmologists at Mann Eye Institute.