Fastballs, flying debris from gardening projects, pool and lake contaminants, a scorching sun- no matter where this summer takes you, remember to protect your most valuable assets…. Your eyes! Your eyecare professionals at Pepose Vision Institute would like to remind you of some simple ways to care for your eyes this summer.
1. Wear sun protection. The sun emits different wavelengths of light. Those that are damaging to the skin and eyes are the ultraviolet rays (UV-A and UV-B.) Just as you apply sunscreen to your skin, you should invest in a pair of sunglasses that protect your eyes against UV rays. Also, don’t forget a wide-brimmed hat, especially if you’ll be attending all-day outdoor events.
2. Wear eye protection when playing sports. The US Eye Injury Registry estimates 5% of all eye injuries come from baseballs. In fact, the smaller the ball, the higher the chance of an eye injury. Paintballs, soccers balls, golf balls and tennis balls are others that can cause eye injury. These injuries can be serious enough to require surgical repair and can even lead to loss of an eye. Polycarbonate safety glasses/goggles are a good idea if you’ll be playing any ball sport. Also check your sporting goods stores for sport-appropriate shields and masks. Remember to wear your eye protection even if practicing in your own backyard, and even if sitting in the sidelines as you never know when an errant ball may strike.
3. Protect your eyes while swimming. Swimming pools and freshwater lakes are teeming with chemicals and bacteria that can lead to potentially blinding conditions, particularly in contact-lens wearers. Contact lenses create the perfect environment for bacteria to multiply and create a serious eye infection. If you wear contacts, always remember to remove them before you go swimming.
4. Protect your eyes from irritants. Sunblock, pool chemicals, poison ivy, insect bites to name a few… If you find your eyes becoming red, burning and watery this summer use artificial tears, not anti-redness drops, to rinse out the irritants and soothe your eyes. These can be found at your eye doctor’s office or at a local pharmacy.
5. Wear protective eyewear when doing outdoor projects. Serious eye injuries have resulted from activities such as lawn-mowing, roofing, and woodworking to name a few. Any activity that can stir up flying wood chips, rocks, nails and sawdust can injure your eyes badly enough to require surgical repair. If you are outdoors doing these activities on a regular basis, it makes sense to invest in professional quality safety goggles to avoid serious eye injury.