Safe wear and care of contact lenses
The risks of contact lens-related eye problems are at an all-time high during summer due to hot weather, travel, long days and extended time outdoors. Proper contact lens hygiene - although important at all times - is especially vital during this season in order to minimize these risks. Your hands should be washed immediately prior to handling lenses, you should always use fresh contact lens solution and any contact with water should be minimized - which includes removing your contact lenses before any kind of swimming activities. Pay particular attention to any irritation, redness, light sensitivity, decreased vision or discharge; if you notice any of these symptoms, you should immediately: remove contacts, discontinue use, and contact your optometrist for an appointment immediately.
Use sunglasses with UV protection whenever outdoors
Much like skin, your eyes need to be protected from the sun and its important to always wear sunglasses outside in order to guard them from harmful UV rays. Extended exposure to UV rays can cause sunburn - and even increase your risk of developing more serious vision problems, such as early cataracts and macular degeneration. For optimal protection, the lenses of your sunglasses should have a minimum UV 400 protection and should block both UVA and UVB rays. Wearing sunglasses supplies the additional benefit of acting as a shield that will protect you from dust and debris that may get blown into your eyes during outdoor activities or windy days.
Avoid both natural and chemical irritants
The chemicals in pools and bacteria that is often found in natural bodies of water can be bothersome or even harmful to your eyes. Wearing goggles while swimming and playing in water is important in protecting your eyes during these activities. Increased time spent outdoors can also expose you to other irritants, such as poison oak, ivy or insect bites. Be mindful of these irritants if you find yourself in a situation where you may be near them and be sure to keep your hands clean after any possible contact occurs to avoid transferring allergens to your eyes which can cause discomfort. Call your optometrist immediately if you notice redness, irritation, or swelling after any of these activities so they can help determine the cause of your symptoms and the best way to relieve them.
Wear protective eyewear
Gardening, painting, remodeling and other household projects are particularly common during summer - all of which can potentially result in small objects flying around. If you're engaging in any of these activities, make sure you wear proper eye protection. Keep in mind that regular glasses or sunglasses do not qualify as proper eye protection. You should be using professional quality goggles with full coverage frames as well as impact resistant lenses. You should also be using protective eyewear while playing sports. Proper use of safety eyewear can prevent up to 90% of serious eye injuries. See your optometrist immediately if you do experience an eye injury so that a comprehensive eye health examination can be performed.
Schedule your yearly eye exam
Since summer often means a little extra free time, why not take advantage of it to schedule your yearly eye exam? Comprehensive eye exams are one of the most important ways to preserve your vision. They're also a vital form of preventative eye care; a comprehensive eye exam is the only way to accurately asses the health of your eyes, diagnose eye disorders and/or diseases, and determine if you require corrective lenses. Early detection of potential problems could save your vision - after all, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!
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