Summer is upon us and that means lots of fun for you and your family, but plenty of danger for your eyes. Here are some of the best tips for keeping your eyes healthy during the summer months:

Wear Sunglasses with Ultraviolet Protection

 We slather our skin with sunscreen when outdoors, but what about our eyes? UV Rays can be extremely harmful. Too much exposure to UVR can cause photokeratitis in the short-term. Continual UVR exposure can cause cataract development, pterygium (a non-cancerous growth over the cornea) or skin cancer of the eyelids. So protect your eyes from those dangerous rays by always wearing sunglasses with 100-percent protection against both UVA and UVB rays. And remember to wear them even on cloudy days

Always Use Goggles at the Pool

A dip in the pool on a hot day feels great but the chlorine, designed to protect you from exposure to germs, could wreak havoc on your eyes. A recent study revealed that frequent exposure to chlorine could damage your corneal epithelium, which provides protection to your cornea from irritants and pathogens. If that protection is compromised, you have an increased likelihood of corneal abrasion or other eye injuries. The simplest solution is to wear goggles every time you swim in a pool. This also applies to swimming in the ocean or natural bodies of water, as they contain other contaminants that may hurt your eyes. And if you wear contacts, always remove them before taking a dip.

 Wash Hands and Avoid Rubbing Your Eyes

Winter illnesses may be behind us but there are still plenty of germs out there during the summer months! The best way to protect yourself from the spread of communicable disease is simply to wash your hands on a regular basis and avoid rubbing your eyes. This practice is crucial to avoid contracting eye-related conditions such as conjunctivitis (commonly known as pink eye). You often develop conjunctivitis after touching something that someone else has touched after they rubbed their eyes.

Be Cautious on the 4th of July

Every year thousands of people end up in the ER with fireworks-related eye injuries. These devastating injuries can include ocular burns, lacerations, abrasions, retinal detachments, optic nerve damage, and even ruptured eyes. At best, these types of injuries are very painful, but at worst, they can lead to permanent blindness. Remember to attend only authorized public fireworks displays conducted by licensed operators and if you are a spectator, stay at a safe distance and consider wearing eye protection. A significant percentage of injuries related to the eyes actually happens to bystanders. Also, be cautious with sparklers, especially around children. Sparklers can heat up to 1800 degrees Fahrenheit!

Wear Eye Protection While Doing Home Projects

How often do you see Dad mowing during the summer months with a child playing nearby? Both should be wearing eye protection. All it takes is that blade to hit one loose rock for disaster to strike. The same goes for carpentry projects or doing work on your car. Your eyes should be protected at all times to avoid sawdust or chemicals from injuring your vision.

Protect Eyes During Summer Sports

 Summer is the perfect time for plenty of outdoor activities, but too many people neglect to properly protect their eyes while playing contact sports. Always remember to wear the recommended eye protection for sports like baseball, softball, racquetball, and basketball—even if it’s just a pickup game.

Stay Hydrated

 We all know drinking water can be good for your body but staying hydrated is also important for your eyesight. Serious dehydration makes it harder for the body to produce tears, leading to dry eye symptoms and other vision problems. So make sure to grab some Gatorade or ice water throughout the day, especially if you’re heading out into the heat!

Dr. Robert Schultze
Dr. Robert Schultze
A Phi Beta Kappa graduate from the University of Pittsburgh, Dr. Schultze received his medical degree from Temple University School of Medicine in 1994, where he was distinguished with the Lamport Biomedical Research Award. Upon completion of ophthalmology residency at Albany Medical College in 1998, Dr. Schultze elected to further his education with one additional year of specialty fellowship training in Cornea, External Disease and Refractive Surgery at the Albany Medical College. Dr. Schultze has been appointed Professor of Ophthalmology and Director of Cornea, Cataract, and Refractive Surgery at the Albany Medical Center Department of Ophthalmology where he teaches medical students, residents, and fellows the latest diagnostic and therapeutic techniques. He also serves as Ophthalmology Residency Program Director, Director of Medical Student Education in Ophthalmology, and Director of the Cornea Fellowship Program. Dr. Schultze is Medical Director and a founding partner of his medical practice, Cornea Consultants of Albany. He also serves as Medical Director of TLC Laser Eye Center as well as the Lions Eye Bank at Albany and has served on the Northeastern Association for the Blind at Albany’s Board of Directors.

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