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5 Ways to Protect Your Eyes in Summer

Hazards to your eyes are lurking around every corner, but WebMD has 5 essential ways to protect yourself against eye injury.
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2. Wear Serious Eye Protection While Doing Home Projects

How often do you see Dad weed whacking or mowing and little Junior playing nearby? Both should be wearing eye protection. "Dad is behind the mower and high up," explains Bensinger. "A flying rock could hit him but more likely will go sideways and hit someone lower to the ground nearby."

By eye protection, this does not mean reading or sunglasses, O'Brien emphasizes. "This means professional quality goggles from a home supply store. I have seen corneal lacerations come into the ER from yard work. We're talking surgery to fix these."

"Chopping wood, hammering nails, sawdust, anything that can fly around," Bensinger advises people to "wear protection."

What if you do take a hit in the eye? "The first determinant is vision, pain is secondary," Bensinger says. "If your vision is not affected, put some ice on it (unless it's a penetrating injury like a BB)."

3. Protecting Eyes During Sports

"The bigger the ball, the less likely an eye injury," Bensinger notes. "Basketball is unlikely to injure eyes. But baseballs and softballs can [and so can] golf balls, squash, and handballs."

According to the U.S. Eye Injury Registry, 5% of all eye injuries result from baseballs.

In Malaysia, where badminton is the national sport, Bensinger says, there are many eye injuries from the weighted and feathered shuttlecock.

When playing most ball sports, eye protection is warranted, the doctors say. "The objection will be that protection is encumbering," Bensinger says, "but hockey goalies said that at first, too, about their facemasks." Most sporting goods stores sell plastic, molded shields or masks appropriate for different sports.

"Paintball," remembers Bensinger, "that's another bad one for eyes. Commercial places make you wear eye protection, but some people run out in the backyard and start shooting [without it]."

4. Avoid or Protect Against Chemicals

You can jump in a pool and if your eyes sting, it may mean the chemicals aren't balanced. "This is more of a comfort issue," Bensinger says. "Rarely will it affect your vision."

O'Brien goes farther. "If it hurts, get out!" he cries. "I don't care how much you paid, there is no vacation worth messing with your eyes." Rinse immediately with clean water, even if you have to buy a bottle. "Then," he adds, "do not go back in." If the stinging persists for hours, you should get a doctor to take a look.

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