Summer is fast approaching. Now is the time to take a few vacations from work, plan some trips, and get out there in the sunshine. But summertime can be very hard on your eyes. Summer activities often put our eyes at risk of exposure to irritants and the sun itself can do a fair bit of damage, as well.
So what’s a fun, summer-loving person to do? Stay indoors until September? Of course not! Here are some of the simple things you can do to keep your eyes healthy this summer without sacrificing any of that summer fun.
Buy the right sunglasses (and maybe a hat)
The biggest risk to your eyes, not just in summer but throughout the year, is overexposure to ultraviolet rays from the sun. Consistent exposure to sunlight has been linked to multiple eye health issues, including macular degeneration later in life. The good news is that this extra risk is entirely avoidable. By wearing sunglasses as frequently as you can manage, and adding a hat to your summer wardrobe, you can dramatically reduce your risk for eye damage caused by sun exposure.
When you pick out a pair of sunglasses, you will get what you pay for. Not all sunglasses actually block out the majority of UV light. So be sure to invest in a good pair of sunglasses with complete UV protection.
Learning to swim without goggles is something we put a lot of stock in as children. Opening our eyes underwater with no protection for the first time is almost something of a rite of passage. But if you’re conscientious about your eye health, you’re better off leaving those goggles on. Swimming pools are full of chlorine to limit exposure to germs, but this sanitizing chemical can cause significant eye irritation. And beyond that, chlorine has been shown to reduce the protective layer around your corneas, leaving your eyes vulnerable to abrasion or injury.
Use proper eye protection
Summer is the time of outdoor projects and home improvement. For all those eager DIY-ers, remember that it’s not worth the risk to gamble with your eye safety. Remember to wear protective eyewear whenever there is a risk of shrapnel or irritants getting into your eye. If you do get something in your eye while you’re working, either debris or a chemical solution, rinse your eyes with water both thoroughly and immediately. Then consult your eye doctor. Waiting will only increase the likelihood of damage to your eye.