Summer Eye Safety

Summertime means spending more time outdoors, at the beach or pool, and more time in the sun. Most people associate more time in the sun with applying sunscreen to protect the skin, but it’s equally as important to protect your eyes, as exposure to harmful sunlight can lead in an increased risk for eye diseases, including cataract, growths on the eye, and even cancer.

In addition to benefitting your vision health, taking precautionary measures to protect your eyes can also make summertime more fun. Follow these simple tips from Georgia Eye Institute and you and your family can enjoy the summer sun safely while protecting your vision.

Sunglasses are more than just a great accessory

Sunglasses not only look great, they can help protect your eyes from harmful UV rays and reduce the chances of burning your corneas. Sunglasses should fit snugly around your eyes and offer protection on the side of the eyes as well. Keep in mind that sunlight is strongest mid-day, at higher altitudes, and when reflected off water or sand.

Choose sunglasses labeled “100% UV protection,” and only use glasses that block both UVA and UVB rays. It’s important to note that even if you wear UV blocking contact lenses, you still need to wear proper sunglasses to fully protect your eyes.

For maximum protection, wear a hat along with your sunglasses. Broad-brimmed hats are best.

Wear eye protection

Warm, sunny weather means it’s the perfect time for yardwork or to make a dent in your long list of home improvement projects. While doing work on your yard or home, it is extremely important to protect your eyes from dust, dirt and flying debris. Safety goggles can be purchased at home improvement stores, and do a better job of protecting your eyes than sunglasses.

Swim with goggles

Nothing says summer like a day at the beach or the pool. The chlorine in most swimming pools can be particularly irritating to the eyes, causing minor infections and dryness. Salt water from the ocean, rivers other natural bodies of water also contain contaminants that may be harmful to eyes. Wear swim goggles when you’re in the water to protect your eyes from irritants and floating particles that could damage your eyes.

Don’t forget the little ones

While it’s best to keep children out of direct sunlight during the middle of the day, they should wear sunglasses and hats to protect their eyes whenever they’re in the sun, and goggles when they’re swimming.

Eat right for your sight

Nutrition plays an important role in preventing conditions such as cataracts and macular degeneration. A healthy diet of summer foods like strawberries, tomatoes, avocadoes and peppers can help protect your eyes from many common eye conditions. Vitamins C, E and zinc have been shown to slow the aging process in eyes.

Drinking plenty of water can also help keep your eyes healthy. During summer months, it’s easier to become dehydrated, which can cause vision problems. Drink plenty of water to help keep your eyes healthy.

Year-round care

Eyes can be damaged by the sun – even through clouds and haze- any time of year so be sure to give your eyes the same protection year ‘round.

In addition to protecting your eyes in summer, annual visits for your eyes are important and beneficial for your overall health. A thorough eye exam – which is not the same as having a “vision test” – performed by an optometrist or ophthalmologist can detect potentially harmful diseases like diabetes, cardiovascular disease, thyroid disorders and cancers, vision disorders, and issues with the muscles in your eyes.

Georgia Eye Institute provides leading edge primary eye care, corrective eye surgery, ophthalmic care, and surgical eye care at 13 area offices. For more than 20 years the pioneering surgeons and staff at GEI have set new standards for outpatient cataract surgery and lens implantation, offers advanced retinal care for diabetic eye disease, LASIK laser vision correction, glaucoma management, treatment for macular degeneration and corneal disease, oculoplastic surgery, and optometry. For more information, visit