HEALTH FOCUS: How to Protect Your Eyes this Scorching Summer
By Space Coast Daily // August 10, 2021
Yes it can be harmful and it’s certainly an issue we should pay great attention to, but there’s no denying that we all love the summer sun. For some it’s appearance is all too brief and for most of us it signals the most enjoyable time of the year.
It’s the time of year we spend a great deal of time outdoors and so much so that we sometimes forget just how long we’ve been out. This can cause all sorts of issues that result in long and short-term eye health concerns and as such we need to take great care. This is especially true for those with young children and anyone with pre-existing conditions.
In the US there is a heightened risk of severely damaging heatwaves, this has already led to a trail of death and destruction on the west coast, especially in Oregon and Washington state. Whether you subscribe to the scientific school of thought that assigns the reasons for this to man-made climate change or not, you need to be prepared either way.
Most of us are very aware of the damage the sun can have on our skin, and that’s a good sign that we are looking to proactively protect ourselves. However our eyes are also a part of our bodies that can be negatively affected by the sun and the summer months.
Here’s a check-list of ways to protect your eyes without it having too much of an impact on your enjoyment of the season.
Continually Wash Your Hands
The summer months usually mean an extended period outside, which makes sense as you are making the most of the lovely conditions. However, you are also handling a lot more with your hands during these months and wiping sweat from your brow among other actions.
Keep your hands clean as much as possible and avoid touching and rubbing your eyes as this can cause irritation, especially if you’ve picked up grains of sand or dirt before doing so.
Wear Sunglasses With the Best Level of UVA Protection
You should look to protect your eyes with a good pair of sunglasses, maybe more than one pair if you happen to be as forgetful as us, that offer strong UVA protection.
These can help protect your eyes from the harmful rays of the sun and the good news is you can get them in a million different styles and there are many discount glasses that provide ample defense, regardless of budget.
You should be aware that even if the sky isn’t clear, or even cloudy, the sun is still very much a hazard that you need to take into account. Therefore wear your sunglasses as much as possible during daylight hours if you are outside.
Don’t Forget Your Goggles When Swimming
Do you get that stinging sensation when you jump in the pool? Most of us do. This is due to the high level of chlorine used to keep the water clean and hygienic, but it’s also very damaging to your eyes and hugely uncomfortable.
Wear goggles to minimize the discomfort and remember even when swimming in the sea or ocean, you should keep them on. There is a great deal of waste that’s expelled in most areas where you might be taking a dip, better to be safe than sorry.
Wear a Hat
As well as offering your head and neck protection from potentially harmful sunburn, a hat will also help to shield your eyes from exposure to the sun. This is of course also a great chance for you to make a style statement, so have fun with it.
Look to wear a wide-brimmed hat, or a baseball cap (if that’s more your style), that helps to cover as much of your face as possible. Either way, regardless of whether you are wearing sunglasses or a hat, or indeed both, try to avoid too much time in the direct glare of the sun.
Try Not to Swim With Your Contact Lenses
If you regularly wear contacts you might seek to swim while wearing them and we can tell you that this isn’t a great idea. Firstly you might find them becoming very uncomfortable after a prolonged period of wearing them in these conditions.
Secondly, dirt and microorganisms can get in between your eyes and the lenses you wear, which will initially only prove irritating but more than likely will end up causing a more problematic issue for your eyes.
The bacteria that can form in this space between your eyes and the lenses can lead to long-term damage, such as infections and cornea damage. So it’s best to eliminate that risk altogether
Drink Plenty of Liquids
Drinking a great deal during these summer months is crucial. Staying hydrated will help prevent heatstroke and can also protect your eyes. Dehydration is known to cause eye strain, blurry vision and dry eyes, all of which can lead short to long-term damage to your eyes.
Whenever you, and your loved ones, are out in the sun you should always keep plenty of water within reach. Doing so will not only keep you from being thirsty but will provide a number of health benefits.
Get into the routine of always having a bottle of water or two in your bag or car and encourage your kids to do likewise.