Keep your eyes free from injury and irritation this season with these tips.
There are loads of activities you can enjoy throughout the summer. From swimming and fishing to ball games and holiday celebrations, there's no end to the fun you can have during the season. But if you're not careful, some of these activities may be hazardous to your eyes.
Here's how to protect your eyes this summer so you're less likely to experience irritation, discomfort or injury:
- Swimming. Bodies of water, including lakes, rivers, oceans and even swimming pools, can contain bacteria, parasites and microorganisms. If you wear contact lenses while you're swimming, the lenses can hold water that contains these microorganisms, which exposes your eye to infection. It's best to swim without lenses. If you must wear lenses, opt for ones that can be disposed of immediately after swimming and rinse your eyes as soon as you get out of the water. Wearing goggles can help keep water out of your eyes so they're better protected.
- Fishing. You know those sharp little hooks at the end of your fishing rod that are designed to catch fish? If you're not careful, one of those hooks can hit your eye when you or someone near you casts your line. Keep a safe distance apart and pay attention when casting lines to lower the chance of injury.
- Sports. Every 13 minutes, an emergency room in the U.S. treats a sports-related eye injury. When playing any type of sport with a ball, puck, racket or stick, your eyes are at risk. Anything that hits your eye or the area near it, especially at a high velocity, can cause pain, bleeding and even retinal damage. Protective eyewear helps keep your eyes safer.
- Fireworks. Being too close to fireworks when they're lit can cause serious injury. It's best to leave fireworks to the professionals, but if you must set off your own pyrotechnics, wear protective goggles and practice fireworks safety protocols to lower your risk of injury.
- Sun. You already know it's dangerous to look directly at the sun. The sun's ultraviolet (UV) light can burn the delicate tissue of your retina, resulting in you seeing dark spots in the center of your vision. But it's not just looking at the sun that can be damaging. UV light just from being outdoors has been shown to accelerate the development of macular degeneration and cataracts. The sensitive skin around your eyes is also prone to sun damage. So wear a pair of quality sunglasses that provides protection against both UVA and UVB rays.
- Weather. The heat of the summer, especially if it's dry, can irritate your eyes. The same can happen if you're in a windy, dusty or sandy location. Using artificial tears can help keep your eyes moist and may reduce irritation. If you suspect something has blown into your eye, such as sand or dust, don't rub your eye. Instead, blink a few times to allow your natural tears to flush out the particle. If that doesn't help, use eye wash or clean tap water to flush your eye.
- Yardwork. If you're doing yardwork or any type of home improvement project, get in the habit of wearing protective eyewear. Doing so can protect your eyes from wayward debris, dust and other objects or particles that can cause irritation to your eyes or even serious injury.
Remember, don't wait to seek care.
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Date Last Reviewed: May 18, 2023
Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor
Medical Review: Perry Pitkow, MD