8 WAYS TO PROTECT YOUR EYES THIS SUMMER
Summer is about all about fun in the sun, long, lazy beach days and great sunglasses. But too much of a good thing isn’t always good for you.
Taking precautions against the sun, is the first important step in eye protection this summer. The sun’s rays are great for tan lines and getting your daily dose of Vitamin K, but spending too much time in all that sunshine without adequate protection isn’t just bad for your skin, but also for your eyes. We don’t really pause to think about the damage the sun is causing to our eyes when we are enjoying the splendours of summer fun. But excessive sun exposure can lead to short and long term damage to your eyes so eye protection is essential. Exposing your eyes to high levels of ultraviolet (UV) light, damages sensitive cells in your eyes and can lead to short term conditions such as photo conjunctivitis and long term conditions such as cataracts, macular degeneration or growths on the eye. And those trendy summer sunglasses you bought online may look good for your outfit, but they’re doing very little to actually protect your eyes from UV light.
HOW ARE YOUR EYES DAMAGED BY THE SUN?
The sun emits two types of rays that your eyes need protection from. UVA and UVB. UVA rays can pass through your eye’s cornea and reach the lens and retina causing damage to the macula, a part of the retina at the back of your eye. UVB rays can’t pass through glass, but unprotected, your cornea absorbs 100% of UVB rays. And because you can see the effects of UVB rays on your skin with a sunburn, you can imagine the damage this UV light is causing to your eyes.
We blissfully frolic on the beach or tan for hours on the side of the pool without a thought for what those golden rays of warm sunshine are doing to our bodies and eyes. And all of those hours of UV exposure accumulate over our lifetime. Once the damage is done, there is no turning back the clock. But that doesn’t mean you can’t lessen your risk of making it worse. With the right eye protection, you can definitely manage the damage.
There are also a number of other factors to take into consideration to protect your eyes. Adequate sleep, hydration and managing seasonal allergies are just some of the ways in which you can give your eyes some summer loving.
Below we have shared 8 ways to protect your eyes this summer.
1. Wear the right sunglasses this summer
Not all sunglasses are created equal. Sure, we all like to choose stylish sunglasses that are fashionable and look good, but they should also offer the right type of eye protection. Buying the right pair of summer sunglasses should be seen as an investment to give our eyes the TLC they deserve and will make a world of difference in protecting your eyes from UV light. Choose a pair that offers 100% UV protection. You won’t have to compromise on style or damage control with our latest super cool BAKER sunglasses this summer.
2. Wear a wide brim hat outdoors
Hats are not just for the style-savvy. If you’re going to be spending some time outdoors this summer (which we know you will be), it is a good idea to wear a hat in addition to your sunglasses. The sun’s rays are sneaky and will still be able to get to places around your eye that aren’t covered by your stylish summer sunglasses. Your delicate eyelids will bear the full force of the sun’s harmful UV radiation, so wear a wide brim hat to make sure your eyes are fully protected from UV light. And a little sunscreen around your eye area won’t hurt either.
3. Avoid peak sunshine hours
We tend to be drawn to the hottest summer rays like moths to a flame. But peak sunshine hours often tend to be the ones where most damage occurs. If at all possible, avoid sun exposure between 10 AM and 4 PM to protect yourself from the most aggressive and intense UV rays. If you do go out during this time, wear your sunglasses, hat and sunscreen. Make it a habit to never leave the house without these 3 things in your bag this summer.
4. Protect your eyes on cloudy days
Just because you can’t see the sun’s rays, doesn’t mean they aren’t there. Don’t let those grey days fool you. We underestimate the power of the sun on cloudy days because we think that clouds offer a level of protection from harmful UV rays. But they don’t. They are just as damaging, if not more, because we are less prepared. Treat cloudy days like full sunshine days this summer to protect your eyes from UV light.
5. Get adequate sleep
This is a no brainer. Studies show that adequate sleep is crucial for health. And the more sleep you get, the better your eyes will feel too. Research reveals that 7 hours of sleep is essential to stay physically and mentally refreshed, but in this day and age, it is estimated that 30-40% of adults get less than 6 hours sleep per night. Not only does this make your brain more sluggish, but your eyes will feel tired and strained more easily. Dry eye is a common eye symptom associated with lack of sleep. Dryness encourages you to rub your eyes to stimulate the lacrimal gland, which increases the likelihood of exposure to irritants and diseases. The sun will also make your eyes feel drier if you are outdoors and haven’t had enough sleep. Your eyes need a minimum of 5 hours sleep per night to replenish themselves, but if you’re getting less than 6 hours of sleep, they are getting the bare minimum to recover from the day.
6. Use eye drops
Spring is over but your sneezing, stuffiness and red itchy eyes haven’t come to an end. Welcome to seasonal summer allergies. Microscopic creatures thrive in warm sunlight which will cause your allergies to go into overdrive in the summer months. Pollen, dust and pet dander are some of the main culprits for your summer allergies and will cause your eyes to feel swollen, irritated and itchy. Avoid rubbing your eyes when you have an allergy flare up and use eye drops to manage the symptoms. If your allergies are severe, speak to your optometrist about prescription strength eye drops to keep your eyes happy.
7. Wear goggles in the pool
There is nothing more refreshing than a dip in a sparkling blue pool on a hot summer’s day. The problem is that the chemicals used to keep the pool crystal clear, will wreak havoc on your eyes. And no one likes to swim underwater with their eyes closed, so it’s best to invest in a pair of goggles for swim time. Frequent exposure to chlorine can lead to long term eye damage as it negatively affects your cornea epihtelium. This is a thin layer which protects your eye from
8. Stay hydrated
With the high temperatures that summer brings, it is easy to become dehydrated and this is bad news for your eyes. Serious dehydration makes it harder for the body to produce tears, leading to dry eye symptoms and other vision problems. Drinking plenty of water every day and especially during hot summer months can help to prevent the effects of dehydration and provide fluid to keep your eyes feeling fresh. Keep a 2l bottle of water with you at all times during summer to ensure that you are getting adequate hydration as you move about your day.
Date Published: 10 January 2020