The Clearview Blog

Keeping Your Eyes Safe and Healthy This Summer

July 15, 2015

healthy eyes

Time to break out the swimsuits, locate your sunscreen, and strike up the grill. It’s time to finally get outside! The days and nights are warmer, and everyone wants to head to the beach, lake, or wherever they can stay cool. We are careful to use sunscreen on ourselves and our family along, with staying hydrated whenever we will be out in the sun for any length of time. We understand how damaging the sun’s rays can be to our skin without the proper protection. A bad sunburn is painful and skin cancers can be lethal.

But are we really aware of the damage that can be done to our eyes during the summer? There are some serious consequences to lack of protection. To keep your eyes safe and healthy this summer, check out our tips below!

Why You Should Wear Sunglasses

Why should you wear sunglasses? We crave the warmth of the sun during the summer months, but it can take a toll on your eyes. In fact, our eyes are more susceptible to sun damage than our skin. Protecting our eyes from the ultraviolet rays of the sun is necessary all year round, but especially critical during the summer.

Wearing a good pair of sunglasses is your first defense. Looking cool might be one goal, but you should always make sure they ensure the proper blockage of UV rays too. They should provide 100% UVA protection to be effective, and they should be large enough to shield the whole eye. Styles that wrap around your eyes are considered the best protection.

Without adequate protection from the sun we increase the risk of certain cancers around the eyes, along with a growth known as a pterygium. This is also known as surfer’s eye. We become more likely to develop cataracts and macular degeneration, and those with blue and green eyes are more vulnerable than darker eyes.

Sun Blindness

The dangerous UV rays from sunlight are also reflected from the ground, water, and snow. It is particularly dangerous to spend time out on the water in the summer without sufficient protection. Doing so can cause your corneas to become sunburned, also known as Photokeratitis or snow blindness. It is a very painful condition which results in blindness for days depending on amount of the exposure. It may be an extreme example, but it is illustrates how dangerous the sun’s rays can be.

Other Tips for Keeping Your Eyes Safe the Summer

  • Get into the habit of wearing a hat with brim.  Our eyelids do help protect our eyes but over time sun damage can affect our corneas.
  • Make sure your entire family is protected not only with sunscreen, but also sunglasses and/ or at hat. Children’s eyes are extremely vulnerable to the sun and don’t forget about our seniors.
  • Avoid being outside during mid-day.
  • Be aware that a cloudy day at the pool can be just as damaging as a sunny one.
  • Wear sunglasses even if you already wear contact lenses with sun protection.
  • Teach your children about the dangers of sun exposure.

Alcohol and Keeping Your Eyes Healthy During the Summer

Summertime and adult beverages go great together, but as with the sun, be aware of the dangers of alcohol consumption and how it can affect your eyes and your overall health.  There can be both short term changes in vision and long term effects of drinking alcohol based upon whether you consume too much at one time or over a long period of time.

Excessive drinking over a long period of time can put you at risk for cataracts and AMD (age-related macular degeneration).

Other consequences of drinking include:

  • Dehydration, especially in the summer
  • Blurry vision
  • Decreased peripheral vision
  • Difficulty distinguishing colors
  • Increased dry eyes
  • Migraine headaches
  • Slower dilation and constriction of your pupils
  • Increased inflammations causing rosacea

Many of the above changes to our vision can result in difficulty driving. Alcohol makes it harder to distinguish oncoming headlights and inhibits overall visual clarity. Since we can become dehydrated more easily in the summer, limit the amount of alcoholic beverages you drink and make it a habit to drink water between each alcoholic drink.

Summertime is a wonderful season to enjoy the outdoors with family and friends. At the same time, be sure you are keeping your eyes safe and healthy during the summer.

Still have questions about sun damage? No problem, please give us a call anytime, we’d be more than happy to chat about safe eye practices for the summer.