Spotlight on Summer Eyecare
Spotlight on Summer Eyecare
As the weather warms up and the sun shines in the sky it’s normal to think about slapping on some sunscreen. But do you ever think to focus on protecting your eyes from summer sun?
Just as skin needs shielding from harmful ultraviolet rays, so too do the delicate tissues of the eye. Otherwise, the sensitive skin around the eyes can incur the kind of damage that leads to cancer, while the tissues of the eyes can accumulate damage leading to vision loss. In some cases, exposure to strong sunlight can lead to sunburnt corneas! Ouch.
Unfortunately, if you’re heading to the beach or out on the water, the problem can be compounded. This is because sunlight reflects off the sand and water, so even if you avoid looking up at the sun (which you should always avoid!), sunburnt eyeballs can still occur. Typically, this doesn’t hurt at the time but can cause extreme pain a few hours later, leading to many trips to the optician or doctor to figure out the problem.
How to protect your eyes in summer
The easiest way to shield your eyes during summer is simply to wear a snazzy pair of wrap-around sunglasses. These should filter both UVA and UVB light. Just wearing sunglasses every time you’re out and about can help reduce your risk of developing cataracts prematurely. It also cuts your risk of developing skin cancer near the eyes.
The same goes for children as well as for adults. In fact, because kids’ skin is so delicate, and because sun exposure early on can create lifelong problems, baby aviator sunglasses are a great idea (even if you thought they were just for making your baby look cool).
What else can you do to protect your eyes in summer? One important consideration is to ensure proper eye protection when doing any outdoor tasks that pose a risk to your eyes. This might mean wearing protective goggles when weedwhacking or mowing the lawn, and during construction or other gardening projects, especially when hammering in nails, welding, or chopping wood.
The same goes for some outdoor sports where a hit to the eye could occur. This includes golf, rounders, tennis, paintball, and even beach badminton. Face guards or sports goggles are a great choice to keep your eyeballs safe while having fun outdoors.
Swimming and summer eyecare
There are few things more glorious than a dip in the pool when the weather is stinking hot. But if you’re a contact lens wearer it’s best to avoid wearing your lenses while swimming, or make sure to use seriously good goggles. That’s because chemicals and germs in pool water like to linger under contact lenses, where they can cause irritation and infection. If you can’t avoid wearing your lenses, be sure to remove them immediately after swimming, and give your eyes and lenses a good rinse.
The pool can also be a cause of eye irritation due to cleaning chemicals. Chlorine and other disinfectants can lead to stinging and itchiness. So, again, be sure to give your eyes a rinse with clean water and if it’s especially bad consider talking to pool management to see if their chemical use is a tad too enthusiastic.
If any stinging or itchiness persists, check in with your doctor.
Support your eyes from the inside out
Just as your eyeballs need protection from external elements like the sun, incoming projectiles, and nasty chemicals and bugs, they also need internal support. One of the best ways to promote eye health is to eat a diet full of brightly coloured fruits and vegetables as these are a great source of antioxidant carotenoids that love to accumulate in the eye tissues and protect them against damaging light.
Some key nutrients for eye health include lutein, astaxanthin, zeaxanthin, and beta-carotene. These carotenoid pigments help protect the macula, retina, and lens of the eye and can help reduce your risk of cataract development and age-related macular degeneration (a leading cause of vision loss). Omega essential fatty acids are also important for eye health and are particularly useful for anyone with dry eyes.
So, this summer, be sure to enjoy a generous helping of summer berries while lounging in the shade wearing your most chic sunglasses. And for all-season eye protection (including against harmful blue light emitted from phone, tablet, computer, and TV screens) consider a targeted supplement for vision health. One great choice is Wiley’s Finest Bold Vision Proactive, featuring lutein, omega-7 from fish oil, anthocyanins from bilberry and astaxanthin from algae. This formula helps nourish eye tissue to support healthy vision in all adults.