We all know the importance of protecting our skin from the sun during the summer months, but many people neglect to show their eyes the same level of care. Follow these steps to ensure your eyes aren’t at risk of premature ageing and burning this summer.
Sun’s Impact on your Eyes
A day of fun in the sun can result in short and long-term damage to your eyes. It is possible for your corneas to be sunburned. Just like skin, your sunburned eyes may be stinging, red and dry for a few days before returning to normal but the real damage can appear many years later.
Studies have shown that people who spend large amounts of time in the sun tend to get cataracts eight to 10 years before people that spend more time indoors and in the shade. Eye surgery is required to remove cataracts that cause impaired vision but cataracts that can’t be effectively treated are the most common cause of blindness. Excessive sun exposure also means you are at greater risk of macular degeneration and thickening of the whites of your eyes in later years.
Look for sunglasses that provide 100% protection from UVA and UVB rays. Make sure the sunglasses fit close to your face and wrap-around to protect the sides of your eyes.
Glasses with polarised lens can be more comfortable because they block out glare which is particularly useful when you are at the beach and the sun is reflecting off the sand and water.
Always have a pair of sunglasses close by even if this means you need to buy multiple pairs. While good quality sunglasses will provide protection for your eyes, it is recommended that you also wear a broad brim hat if you are in the sun for a prolonged period. Wearing sunglasses is a good idea year round even when it is overcast as UV rays can pass through the clouds.
We all know the importance of staying hydrated for the health of our skin and organs, however, we rarely think of our eye health when drinking water. Dehydration can alter the physiological balance inside the eye and cause long-term damage. If your eyes are dry, use artificial tears or a spray to restore the moisture content and increase your water intake.
Chemicals & Foreign Objects
Whether you are swimming at home or in a public pool, it is best to wear goggles so your eyes are not subject to pool chemicals. Make sure your backyard pool chemicals are always correctly balanced by having the water tested regularly.
Take care when applying sunscreen. Most contain several chemicals that may be fine for your skin but will play havoc if accidentally wiped in your eye. If you are spending time outside at night when the mosquitoes are out, cover your eyes when applying insect repellent.
In the warmer months we often do more outdoor projects around the home. If you are mowing the lawn or gardening, wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from grass clippings and sand.
If it’s time to paint the gutters, make sure you wear eye protection whenever you are prepping or painting. A piece of old flaking paint with sharp edges can easily flick into your eye so put on eye protection before your start work. The chemicals in wet paint are harmful to the delicate tissue of your eye and a few tiny specs can cause severe irritation.
Chemicals inside the home such as bleach can also cause irritation or long-term damage if they splash up into your eyes. It is best to wear eye protection when using any kind of corrosive products.
Failing to take care of your eyes can cause irreparable damage. Protecting your eyes during your younger years means you are more likely to have healthy eyes and good vision later in life.
HIF has alliances with a range of optical retail shops and online stores for you to save on prescription sunglasses. Check out the list of participating retailers and simply show your HIF member card or quote your member number to claim your discount.