With summer just around the corner, June quickly becomes an incredibly busy time of year for many families. Spring and summer provide a plethora of events, holidays, and fun to be had, which emphasizes the need for eye safety. Keeping in mind the expected increase in summertime activities, here are a few tips to promote and maintain good eye health:
1. Making Use of Polarized/UV Protected Sunglasses.
Ultraviolet (UV) radiation is stronger during spring and summer, and therefore those who spend extended time outdoors should take steps to prevent damage.
WHO (World Health Organization) estimates suggest that “up to 20 percent of cataracts may be caused by overexposure to UV radiation and are therefore avoidable.”
UV protected sunglasses limit the amount of UV rays that reach the eye, both direct and reflected.
When shopping for UV protected glasses, consider sunglasses that:
Protect 99%-100% of UVA and UVB rays.
Filter 75%-90% of visible light.
Polarized glasses are a tad easier to shop for, as they are mainly focused on blocking light reflections and glares.
These glasses do not have near as many specifications like UV protected lenses, so shop for a style and size that limits sunlight to your eyes.
Many pairs of sunglasses can be both polarized and UV protected,
so keep that in mind!
2. Proper Safety Glasses.
Remaining on the topic of glasses, it is heavily encouraged to use proper safety glasses when working both inside and outside.
Many families are involved with yardwork, outdoor projects, and other similar tasks. Simply wearing proper eye protection can help reduce risk of injury, or even possible loss of sight. Many brands of safety glasses even offer polarized and UV protected options for those who spend extended amounts of time outdoors.
When shopping for the appropriate eye protection, make sure to find a pair that fits well, doesn’t slip, and covers the eye from various angles.
3. Wearing Hats.
Simply wearing a hat is one of the most effective ways to reduce the amount of sunlight directly reaching the eye. Selecting a hat that blocks sunlight can be easy, as many brands advertise specifically-designed hats for different activities. Whether you spend your time outdoors fishing, working, or lounging, the right hat can make the experience more comfortable and enjoyable. Not only does wearing a hat protect your eyes, it can also protect your face and scalp.
4. Firework Safety on the 4th.
Although typically advertised as toys, fireworks can be dangerous when used in an improper way. Each year, thousands of people suffer injuries related to fireworks, which can often end with a trip to an emergency room.
Following general safety guidelines, keeping children away from dangerous areas, and reading package instructions can go a long way. When purchasing fireworks, only purchase those that you feel comfortable handling, setting up, and using in your environment. When viewing fireworks, allow plenty of room between you and the fireworks launch. Viewing from a distance can mean less risk of injury for both you and your family.
5. Using Eye Protection During Sports.
As the weather warms up, many people turn to sports to provide exercise, spend time with friends, or just have fun. Some sports host much smaller injury risks than others, but more than likely, the sport of your choice has suggested eye protection pieces.
The types of protection can vary from glasses, helmets, or face guards. Making use of the suggested eyewear can prevent numerous injuries, and preserve eye health. According to the National Eye Institute, “every 13 minutes an ER in the United States treats a sports-related eye injury”, many of which can be avoided.
To find out what form of protection is suggested for your favorite sports, visit: www.preventblindness.org/recommended-sports-eye-protectors
6. Wearing Goggles While Swimming.
Making use of goggles while swimming can prevent a variety of issues from occurring. This can prevent debris from getting in the eye, reduce chlorine irritation, and reduce chances of infections. Both pools and natural swimming areas can host bacteria that could lead to complications.
You can even have prescription goggles made. For more info on these goggles, check out: www.youreyeinstitute.com/what-you-need-to-know-about-prescription-goggles/
7. Treating Allergies and Itchy Eyes
Treating and dealing with allergies and itchy eyes can definitely be a huge pain. Allergies always seem to spike at the worst times, and can easily put a damper on anyone’s day. One of the first steps in preventing irritated eyes is to avoid the triggers. Pollen, pet dander, perfume, and similar things can all lead to aggravated eyes.
As many of us have found out, avoiding these allergens and irritants is easier said than done! Treating these issues can often be as simple as finding the right eye drops. If you can’t seem to find relief with over-the-counter eye drops, consider discussing your eye issues with your doctor. Beyond eye drops, GoodRX.com mentions “you can also try over-the-counter or prescription antihistamines, but eye drops are faster-acting and less likely to cause systemic side effects, so are usually preferred.”
One of the first steps in having a great summer is taking steps to prevent avoidable eye issues. With June kicking off some of the most active months for many families, being proactive is of utmost importance. Utilizing the tips above and taking the initiative to be safe can make way for a lifetime of vision, for both you and those around you!
If any issues arise, seek advice from your eye care professional. While these tips may work for most, advice from a professional is always the path to take.