Good vision and regular eye exams are important all year long, but it's especially important during the summer. Warm weather usually means more time spent outdoors in the sunshine, so you'll need to protect your eyes more than usual. Here are some top summer eye care tips to help keep your eyes healthy all summer long, and beyond.
Wear sunglasses with adequate UV protection
If your sunglasses don't block 99-100% of the sun's UV rays, they aren't providing adequate protection. Don't be fooled by the colour of the lens or the price tag, either; check the label to make sure that the UV protection is strong enough. The glasses should block around 75-90% of the sun's natural light. One way to check and see if the glasses you are wearing do this is to stand in front of a mirror indoors. If you can see your eyes through the lenses, they're not going to provide enough protection.
Prescription sunglasses or glasses sold by your optometrist should provide adequate UV protection, so if you can't find any sunglasses that meet this description, see your optometrist for recommendations.
Wear larger frames or wraparound frames for better coverage and protection
The skin on and around the eyes is particularly sensitive to the effects of the sun, and so are the lenses of your eyes. Larger frames or wraparound glasses provide more protection than your average eyeglass frames do, even eyeglasses designed to double as sunglasses.
Pair your sunglasses with a visor or hat to further protect the sensitive skin and tissues of the eyes, so don't forget these if you'll be spending time outdoors.
Make children wear sunglasses
Children's eyes are particularly sensitive to the effects of UV light on the eyes. Protect them with sunglasses and sun hats, but more importantly, keep them out of the sun during the hours between 10 AM and 4 PM, when the sun's rays are the strongest. Buy sunglasses that provide adequate UV protection, even for babies. The sunglasses not only protect your child's eyes from the sun, they'll also protect them from flying grit and debris such as sand and dirt while they're playing outside.
Also, have the whole family wear their sunglasses on cloudy days, when there is still a risk of sun damage to your eyes. Since the sun's rays reflect off of many surfaces, including water and sand, make sure you all wear your sunglasses any time you're outdoors.
Protect your eyes when swimming
If you're planning on swimming in a pool during the summer, don't forget your goggles. The chemicals in swimming pools can irritate your eyes and cause them to feel uncomfortable. If you wear contact lenses, remove them before swimming to prevent pool water from getting between the lens and your eye, and potentially causing a growth of bacteria there.
Swimming in the ocean can also be bad for your eyes if they're not protected. While the salt water itself isn't harmful to your vision, debris and bacteria in the water could be problematic. Grains of sand in the water can get in your eyes and cause irritation, potentially scratching the corneas of your eyes. Goggles or a swim mask can prevent this from happening, so your eyes stay comfortable and healthy.
Keep sunscreen away from your eyes
While sunscreen is vitally important for keeping your skin safe, it can cause a painful, but mild, chemical burn if it comes into contact with the surface of your eye. While it's not likely to damage your vision permanently, it is still extremely uncomfortable and can leave your eyes feeling blurry and uncomfortable for hours. Avoid using sunscreen near your eyes, and wear sunglasses instead. Or, opt for a sunscreen in a block form that won't be likely to run into your eyes while you're applying it.
Enjoy the summer outdoors with your friends and family, but remember to take good care to protect your eyes. You only get one pair, so look after them during the summer and all year round to enjoy healthy vision for longer. Click here for more information.