Summer Eye Protection: 7 Tips to Keep Your Eyes Safe

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Many of us are aware of the importance of using sunscreen to shield our skin from UV rays, but are you familiar with the significance of caring for your eyes in the sun?

As per the World Health Organization, there are 15 million people globally who are blind due to cataracts, with up to 10% of these cases potentially being linked to exposure to ultraviolet radiation.

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However, there are simple preventive measures to safeguard your eyes from sun damage. Keep reading to discover how to defend your eyes from the elements this summer. For additional eye care advice, explore the best places to purchase glasses and contact lenses online.

Protecting Your Eyes from the Sun in the Warm Weather

From donning sunglasses to maintaining a nutritious diet, there are numerous ways to shield your eyes in the hot climate. Here are some evidence-based recommendations for summer eye care.

Wear Sunglasses

An effortless and fashionable method to care for your eyes is by wearing sunglasses when outdoors. Unprotected eyes in the sun are exposed to various UV rays, increasing the risk of specific diseases like photokeratitis and cataracts.

Young man wearing sunglasses. Young man wearing sunglasses.
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Opt for Polarized Lenses: Polarized lenses contain a unique chemical that filters more light than standard sunglasses, effectively reducing glare from reflective surfaces such as water and snow, making them ideal for extended outdoor activities.

Select the Correct Lens Color: Contrary to popular belief, darker lenses do not offer enhanced UV protection. Dark lenses cause dilation of the pupils, permitting more sunlight into the eyes. Instead, choose gray or smoke-colored lenses for optimal sun protection.

Keep Your Eyes Hydrated

In the summer, eyes can quickly become dry, especially in dry climates, air-conditioned environments, or after prolonged time in swimming pools. Dehydrated eyes can lead to discomfort, including burning, irritation, and light sensitivity, which can worsen if you wear contact lenses.

Avoid Alcohol: Alcohol consumption can also dehydrate your eyes. Reducing alcohol intake can help maintain eye lubrication and prevent dehydration.

Use Eye Drops for Dry Eyes: Over-the-counter eye drops may provide relief for mild dry eyes. Consult your doctor if irritation persists to explore prescription strength options.

Eat a Well-Balanced Diet

A balanced diet can positively impact your eye health. Ensure your meals include a variety of antioxidant-rich foods that support eye health.

For instance, Vitamin C may help reduce the risk of cataract development. Sources of this vitamin include raw bell peppers, oranges, and carrots. Similarly, Vitamin E protects the eyes from free radicals that can harm eye tissue and is present in seeds, nuts, and sweet potatoes. Vitamin A also supports proper eye function and is found in leafy greens and orange vegetables.

Conversely, certain foods can negatively impact eye health. Sugary beverages and fried foods can elevate diabetes risk and subsequently diabetic retinopathy.

Limit Screen Time

Prolonged screen exposure from laptops or phones can strain your eyes, leading to eye discomfort and conditions like eye strain. Symptoms of eye strain often include headaches, light sensitivity, itching, and blurred vision.

Reducing screen time may not be feasible in some professions. However, implementing eye care strategies to mitigate the effects of digital screens on your eyes can be beneficial. The American Optometric Association offers guidance on this matter.The American Optometric Association recommends using the 20-20-20 rule when using electronic screens: take a 20-second break every 20 minutes to look at something 20 feet away.

To protect your eyes from digital screens, you can adjust the brightness on your devices, switch to dark mode, and consider wearing blue-light-blocking glasses. However, there is conflicting research on the efficacy of these glasses for eye health.

Avoid staring directly at the sun as prolonged exposure can cause serious damage to your eyes, including conditions like solar retinopathy. Symptoms can range from watery eyes and eye discomfort to blurred vision or blind spots, and in severe cases, these effects can be irreversible. If you notice any changes in your vision after looking at the sun, consult a doctor promptly.

When outdoors or playing sports, wear sunglasses to protect your eyes. Additionally, consider wearing a wide-brimmed hat or visor when gardening or hiking, use goggles at the beach or pool, and wear protective glasses during sports activities to reduce the risk of eye injuries. Don’t forget to apply sunscreen on your face to prevent sunburn on your eyelids and around your eyes.

Getting sufficient quality sleep is crucial for eye health. Poor sleep can lead to dry eyes and increase the risk of conditions like dry eye disease. Lack of sleep may also result in rubbing your eyes excessively, potentially causing eye damage or infections. Furthermore, insufficient sleep has been associated with issues like eye twitching, bloodshot eyes, and under-eye puffiness.

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