Did you know that only 31% of Americans protect their eyes from the sun? These low numbers are concerning because the sun’s rays are extremely harmful. Just 15 minutes of sun exposure can cause irreversible damage to your eyes.
With summer well on its way, the potential damage to your eyes is only increased. Read on to find out the 7 tips for effective eye protection this summer.
Why You Should Protect Your Eyes
sun exposure to the eyes can result in a number of issues. Not only do you increase your risk of eye sunburn – yes that’s a thing! But prolonged exposure also can also result in macular degeneration. This is the main cause of loss of vision in people over 60.
Prolonged exposure to Ultraviolet (UV) rays can also cause cataracts, conjunctival cancers, and eye-lid skin cancer. While these ocular cancers are rare, they are increasing, especially in older patients. This is thanks to the limited amount of people using eye protection when they’re out and about.
7 Tips for Effective Eye Protection This Summer
With summer comes outdoor activities. It can be easy to forget to protect your eyes from the sun while you’re out there having fun. But it’s extremely important to remember these 7 tips below to keep your eyes healthy and safe.
1. Wear Sunglasses
While this seems like the most obvious tip, it’s the best form of sun protection for your eyes. But you can’t buy just any pair of sunglasses.
When choosing sunglasses, always go for polarized or a pair that states they have 100% UV protection. These kinds of sunglasses block out the harmful rays of the sun and keep your eyes healthy.
2. Wear Hats
This is another age-old tip that many will deem obvious. However, with 13% of skin cancers occurring on the scalp, not many people seem to be wearing hats during the summer. Apart from reducing your risk of skin cancer, hats can also block as much as 50% of UV rays from your eyes and eyelids.
Just like sunglasses, though, you shouldn’t opt for just any old hat. For effective eye protection during summer, wear hats that have a wide brim, a minimum of 3 inches.
You should also avoid hats with holes in them or ones that don’t protect your scalp.
There are several hats on the market that have been marketed as having highly effective UV protection. Like sunglasses, these hats have a UV protection rating. The higher, the better!
3. Keep Your Eyes Moisturized
One of the best ways to protect your eyes from the sun is by keeping them moisturized. The most effective way of doing this is by drinking plenty of water.
When you get dehydrated, so do your eyes, causing strain and damage. The chances of dehydration are increased during summer and when doing outdoor activities.
Remember to drink at least 8 cups of water a day to stay hydrated and keep your eyes moisturized.
However, thanks to the dry air and hot winds, the chances of getting ‘dry eye’ are increased. You may need to use eye drops geared toward reducing and protecting your eyes from ‘dry eye.’
4. Swimming Best Practices
With summer, comes plenty of water activities. Apart from the increased glare, bodies of water can be filled with harmful bacteria that can irritate your eyes.
When you’re around water, it’s extremely important to wear proper UV-protected or polarized sunglasses. As mentioned, these protect your eyes from the harsh UV rays.
If you’re partaking in water activities, however, you should be wearing goggles. While they might not always look cool, they keep any bacteria and possible eye infections away from your eyes.
If you wear contacts, it’s even more important to wear goggles. However, it might be best to take them out before jumping into the water.
Even if you protect your eyes while swimming, you should splash your face and eyes with fresh water when you’re done for good measure.
5. Keep Sunscreen Away From Your Eyes
Wearing sunscreen is extremely important during the summer. Always opt for one that has the highest possible SPF rating for optimal UV protection.
However, when putting sunscreen on your face, try to keep it from your eyes. Sunscreens can burn your eyes and cause severe irritation. If you accidentally get sunscreen in your eyes, rinse them out using fresh, clean water.
When applying sunscreen to your face, do so slowly and gently, avoiding the eye area as much as possible. Oil-free and sensitive skin sunscreens are great for using on your face and the area around your eyes.
6. Don’t Let the Clouds Fool You
Cloudy days can pop up even in the middle of summer. While the cooler, less sunny days can be a welcome reprieve, don’t let it fool you.
Clouds may stop some UV rays from beating down on you, but not all of them. Even on the most cloudy days, the sun’s UV rays can still burn your skin and damage your eyes. Sometimes, the glare is worse on cloudy and overcast days.
Don’t let the clouds fool you. Keep wearing your sunglasses, hats, and sunscreen, even when it seems like you don’t have to.
7. Avoid Midday Sun
You should try to avoid as much midday sun as possible. In the middle of the day, the sun is at its highest peak and it’s most dangerous.
You should try to head inside during the middle of the day to avoid the harshest of the sun’s rays.
However, if you can’t avoid being outdoors, maintain all the good habits of sun protection: wearing polarized or UV-protected sunglasses, a good hat, and a high SPF sunscreen.
Protecting Your Eyes From the Sun
Effective eye protection is essential for the overall health of your eyes. You can reduce your chances of loss of vision, cataracts, and ocular cancers.
But if you’ve got any questions about your eye health, or are within a 5-mile radius of Southwest Freeway Houston, Texas, contact us today.