While enjoying outdoor activities, people are often remiss in considering preventative eye care. When we think of summer, we’re thinking about fun and other protective measures such as sunscreen and bug spray, not potentially have to take a trip to the eye doctor. Preventative measures for protecting our eyes are just as important as protecting the rest of our bodies from sunburn and mosquito bites. There are a number of ways to enjoy the outdoors and avoid long-term eye damage, such as:
• Wearing a hat
• Wearing sunglasses when outdoors
• Avoiding directly looking at the sun
• Being aware that damage to the eyes can still happen if it’s cloudy
• Understanding that damage to our eyes from the sun can happen during any season
These are fairly easy rules to follow, but surprisingly there are a number of people who find themselves visiting their local ophthalmologists at the end of summer due to eye damage.
Photokeratitis is a painful condition of the eye that occurs when exposed to a high level of ultraviolet (UV) radiation. People who enjoy water activities are at a higher risk of this condition because the UV rays reflect off the surface of the water. Pay attention to how much time you spend in the sun this summer and protect your eyes. Many ophthalmologists cannot stress enough to their patients how important it is to protect your eyes from potentially harmful side effects of too much sun exposure.
Another area of concern for ophthalmologists is children playing sports, putting themselves at risk for potential eye injury and damage. There have been reported cases of children injuring their eyes from a tennis ball, baseball, or other objects. This type of damage at a young age can result in vision loss and even cause cataracts to develop earlier, rather than later in life. David Turbet and Beatrice Shelton, of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, recommend that both adults and children use the correct eye protection corresponding to the sport being played.
As you continue to enjoy this summer season with friends and family, remember to protect your eyes. Your ophthalmologist and vision will thank you!