While applying sunscreen is an obvious way to protect yourself from the harmful UV rays, protecting your eyes is often overlooked and is essential to the maintenance of eye health. Direct sunlight can damage the eyes in a number of ways, but you can limit your exposure by following our eye safety tips this summer.
Wear Sunglasses Poolside
Sunglasses are so much more than just a stylish accessory, they help to filter out the sun’s ultraviolet rays. UV rays cause many eye conditions including photokeratitis which develops when eyes get exposed to the sun and cataracts which cause the lens of the eye to become opaque blurring your vision. Other adverse effects on eye health include inflammation of the cornea, retinal damage, macular degeneration, and eye growths.
The best type of sunglasses to protect your eyes from the sun is those that provide 99-100% protection from UV rays. A wraparound style such as the iconic Wayfarer shape, which is available in a variety of designer sunglasses brands, limits exposure from all angles and keep your eyes safe in the sun. Take a look at the OSHA eye injury statistic website to read more in-depth about eye safety facts and the potential dangers of improper eye care.
Remove Contact Lenses
For the sake of eye safety tips, it is always advisable to remove contact lenses when swimming as wearing them while in the water can irritate the eyes. The FDA recommends that your contacts not be exposed to any water, chlorinated or not. This includes tap water, hot tubs, and showers. Pools contain chlorine, and although it kills most bacteria, there are still many bugs and pathogens that it doesn’t kill. These bugs and pathogens could potentially attach themselves to your contacts causing damage to your cornea, infections, and more. If you swim while wearing rigid lenses, you risk them becoming displaced. If you swim while wearing soft lenses, they will tighten around the eye causing irritation and pain.
Wear Goggles in the Pool
When chlorine reacts with the microbes found in a swimming pool, a compound called chloramine also forms. While chloramine is essential in the process of killing the harmful bacteria which would otherwise cause damage, it also causes the eyes to sting when directly exposed. Another one of our eye safety tips is to wear water eyeglasses such as goggles to help to protect your eyes against highly irritating chemicals. Goggles are also beneficial as the form a seal that will keep the water out and allow you to see underwater, safely. Prescription goggles may be an option if you are an avid swimmer with compromised eyesight.
Surprisingly, water is drying on the eyes and can reduce natural lubrication which is vital for the eye health. When used regularly, eyedrops can help to prevent conditions such as dry eye syndrome and can help soothe the eyes and reduce potential irritation.
Finding More Eye Safety Tips
There are many highly effective ways that you can protect your eyes both in the sun and in the swimming pool. If you need more information about how you can protect your eyes this summer, then talk to an optometrist. Follow our eye safety tips and attend regular professional eye exams at Eyelux Optometry, to ensure that you maintain good eye health all year round.