As the weather gets warmer and the days grow longer, we often think about improving our health and getting into better shape. As you prepare to enjoy the outdoors this summer, don’t forget a plan for keeping your eyes happy as well.
Here are five ways to keep your eyes safe and healthy this summer:
1. Avoid getting a “sunburn of the eye.”
When sunlight shines off water, sand or other highly reflective surfaces into your eyes, it can cause a very painful condition called photokeratitis. This is when the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays burn the surface of your eye. Pain, redness, blurriness and even temporary vision loss are symptoms of this condition. Prevent photokeratitis by wearing sunglasses that are marked “100% UV protection.” Also, wear a broad-rimmed hat for added eye protection.
2. Prevent “swimmer’s eye” in the pool.
Pools can be tough on the eyes. Chemicals used to keep the water clean, such as chlorine, can affect the natural tear film that keeps our eyes moist and healthy. The result? Red, gritty-feeling eyes and blurry vision. Keep eyes feeling and looking good by wearing swim goggles in the pool, and splash your closed eyes with fresh water immediately after getting out of the pool.
3. Keep dry eye at bay.
Spending time outside when it is hot, dry or windy can irritate a common condition called dry eye. A hot, dry environment affects the tear film, drying out the eye’s surface. To protect your eyes in these conditions, wear wrap-around glasses to keep wind from your eye’s surface. Also, use artificial tears (preferably those that are preservative-free) to keep eyes moist and refreshed.
4. Don’t play around with eye safety.
Spending more time outside often means more outdoor work and play. Whether mowing the lawn, trimming weeds or playing baseball, always wear the proper protective eyewear.
More than half of all eye injuries occur at home, yet only about one out of every three people wears eye protection when they should. Don’t be an eye injury statistic!
5. Quit smoking.
When thinking about getting healthy this summer, think about quitting smoking. Cigarette smoke, including second-hand smoke, not only worsens dry eye, but is a risk factor for many eye diseases, including cataracts, macular degeneration and more. Quitting smoking reduces your risk of getting eye disease and other major health problems.