Summer Eye Protection
The June Solstice has come and gone, and that means that Summer is well and truly here.
School is out, it’s nice and warm, and the days are at their longest. That, of course, means that there is now time and opportunity to engage in all the outdoor activities you missed in the winter, not to mention catch up on all the yard work and home improvement jobs that always seem to pile up.
But with summer fun and projects come dangers to your eyes. We have dangers to be aware of, and tips for protecting your vision.
Protecting Your Eyes From The Summer Sun
The first and most obvious hazard in summer time comes from the Sun. We’ve written before about the importance of wearing sunglasses, but it is something that certainly bears repeating. Quality polarized sunglasses with 100% UV protection are not only great accessories, but important safety gear for summer fun.
Not only is UV radiation from the sun itself a significant hazard – and it is – but summer also frequently includes activities in or around the water. Beach trips, parties by the pool, fishing, boating, or golfing are all commonplace in the summer, and all magnify the danger that UV radiation poses to your eyes. Not only are your eyes exposed to UV radiation directly from the sun, but they are also in danger from light reflecting off the water’s surface. You wouldn’t go to the beach without protecting yourself with sunscreen, don’t go without your sunglasses.
And don’t forget your children. Sunglasses are at least as important for young eyes as they are for adults. Get started on protecting them early.
It’s All Fun And Games, Until Somebody Loses An Eye
Games of all types are part of the summer landscape. Baseball, softball, tennis, golf, and badminton are all popular ways to enjoy a nice summer afternoon. Unfortunately, they are all games that use smaller balls that move at high speeds.
While games like basketball, soccer, or football all have their own health risks, the large balls are much less likely to cause an eye injury than a fast-moving baseball or tennis ball. Eye protection might be cumbersome, but the potential distraction is not worth the potential damage.
There are also the dangers posed to kids. Things like BB guns, dart guns, and paintball guns can all be very dangerous. While some venues demand eye protection, some don’t consider using eye protection when playing with their BB or paintball guns at home. Parents should always insist on their children using proper safety equipment, and teach them to use it early on.
Working with your hands? Use your head
Yard work is a constant in the summer, and home improvement, or maintenance, projects always seem to crop up. While you might be in a rush to get the projects you have let pile up over with so you can get back to the fun stuff.
Mowing the lawn, particularly with a riding mower, is relatively safe for your eyes. However keep kids away while the blades are spinning. Nuts, rocks, or other shrapnel can fly out from the mower deck and cause injury.
If your work around the house involves saws, drills, hammers, or anything else that involves metal or particles moving at high speeds, high-quality safety glasses or goggles should be used. Regular glasses does not keep sawdust, which is irritating at best, out of your eyes. Likewise, regular glasses do not offer protection against a high-speed objects. The glasses can shatter, either letting the foreign object or the glass from your glasses into your eyes.
Common Sense: Use It!
Many summer eye injuries can be avoided with a little forethought and the application of common sense.
Traveling and vacation are popular in the summer. Bungee chords are among the most popular ways of tying down luggage or other bulky things. But be careful, bungee chords have hidden dangers. Always check to make sure your chord is in good condition and don’t use it if it isn’t. Also, ask for help if you are securing something big. If a fully-stretched bungee chord slips, the end can snap back at over 50 miles per hour. Definitely something you do not want hitting you in the face.
If you wear contact lenses, don’t wear them into the pool. The water breaks up the surface tension that hold the lens onto your eye, so you run the risk of losing them. Also, wearing contact lenses when swimming in rivers, ponds, or lakes increases the chances of an eye infection. Contaminants in the unfiltered water that would ordinarily be washed away can be held in the eye by the contact lens.
Also, if you are outside in nature, be wary of poison ivy, sumac, and oak. The irritating oils these plants produce can stay on clothes for a very long time. Not only does that mean you can have outbreaks of itchy rashes without going near the offending plant that day, but it also increases the risk of accidentally getting the oil in your eyes. If you believe you touched poison ivy, sumac, or oak and then touched your eyes, immediately, and thoroughly wash out your eyes, and wash your hands. These plants can pose serious threats to your eyes.
And finally, fireworks are a common summer spectacle. Sparklers burn hot enough to melt metal and roughly one quarter of all summer eye injuries result from mishaps using fireworks. Even if it is legal to purchase and use fireworks where you live, leave them to the professionals.