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.
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.
To soothe irritated eyes, use artificial tears, not anti-redness drops.
O'Brien also warns against poison ivy, oak, and sumac. It's very bad when
that gets into eyes. "You have a few moments to wash it off," he says.
He also tells a story of how the irritating oil in these poison plants can stay
on clothes for years. "I used to have firefighters come in with poison
ivy," he recalls. "One day, one would have it, later a different one.
Turns out, one of their turnout coats had been contaminated with poison ivy,
and different ones were grabbing it."
O'Brien also warns against insect bites around the eye. "These are
nasty," he says. "You don't want to put repellent in your eye,
Bensinger also says you don't want to wear your contacts in the pool.
"The surface tension holding them in will be washed away by water," he
says, "They find a lot of contacts in pool drains."
Infection can also get started from untreated lake or pond water getting
under the lens. "Likely that would wash out if you had no contact in
there," Bensinger says.
5. Protect Against Oddball Events
If you think summer is one big eye accident waiting to happen, you might be
right. Consider these other threats:
- Pellet or dart guns. Yes, kids still get these and wield
them. They should have protective eyewear. Actually, O'Brien notes, kids are
less supervised in summer and may get into older kids' toys. Another tricky
- Fireworks. Even professionals make mistakes with these,
but leave it to them, anyway, O'Brien says. No matter how often this warning
goes out, 8,500 people get hurt by fireworks each year in the U.S. According to
the American Academy of Ophthalmology, 2,000 of these are eye injuries with
one-third of the eye injuries resulting in permanent eye damage.
- Injury to LASIKed eyes. Postsurgery patients need to be
extra careful in general.
- Snapping bungee cords from tying down luggage. These can
lash out at 50 mph!
- Battery acid from improperly jumped auto batteries. Keep
goggles in the trunk. Steam from spewing radiators could also injure eyes.
"What's the best thing you can do for your eyes in summer?"
Bensinger jokes. "Take them with you to Hawaii."
Just don't forget those shades, activity-appropriate eyewear, and that