Summer has arrived and that means more time spent outside enjoying the sunshine, taking in concerts, going to the beach and lounging by the pool. Summertime can be so sweet, but turn sour for your eyes so quickly.

UV Rays

Here are a few tips from the American Academy of Ophthalmology on how to be eye smart in the summer sun:

Wear sunglasses labeled “100% UV protection": Use only glasses that block both UV-A and UV-B rays and that are labeled either UV400 or 100% UV protection. Choose wraparound styles so that the sun's rays can't enter from the side. According to a national Sun Safety Survey conducted by the American Academy of Ophthalmology, only about half of the people who wear sunglasses say they check the UV rating before buying!

Wear a hat along with your sunglasses; broad-brimmed hats are best. They protect your eyes and your skin.

Remember the kids: It’s best to keep children out of direct sunlight during the middle of the day. Make sure they wear sunglasses and hats whenever they are in the sun. 

Know that clouds don’t block UV light: The sun’s rays can pass through haze and clouds. Sun damage to the eyes can occur any time of year, not just in summer.  Sunglasses are a year-round accessory.

Be extra careful in UV-intense conditions: Sunlight is strongest mid-day to early afternoon, at higher altitudes, and when reflected off of water, ice or snow.

Swimming

The weather is beautiful, the sun is shining and your swimsuit and beach towel are just begging to be used. We know the feeling. There aren't many things much better than lounging by the pool or on the beach on a warm summer day drinking lemonade (or something stronger). We get it. But be smart about it.

Swimming with contact lenses:  Swimming in your contacts should be avoided whenever possible to help prevent bacterial contamination of your eye.

Water isn’t always your friend: The FDA recommends that contact lenses should not be exposed to any kind of water, including tap water and water in swimming pools, oceans, lakes, hot tubs and showers.

Waterproof or prescription goggles are the best choice when swimming: If you're going to swim while wearing contact lenses, the best way to reduce your risk of eye irritation and infection is to wear waterproof swim goggles. Prescription swimming goggles are another good option.

 

Sources:
American Academy of Ophthalmology (www.geteyesmart.org)
All About Vision (www.allaboutvision.com)