Made in the shade — 4 tips for healthy eyes in Georgia
Summer has arrived in all its sunny glory. The soaring temperatures and long days make this the perfect time to hit the pool, go on vacation, or get serious with yard work. But all these summer activities can be tough on your eyes.
Georgia is among the top states for harmful UV rays during the summer, and it’s among the worst in the nation on the Environmental Protection Agency’s Sun Safety Index — especially during June. Plus there’s salt water, chlorine, and seasonal allergens to deal with. But with a little common sense, you can keep your eyes healthy and safe all season long.
Here are 4 tips to help you protect your eyes while having fun in the sun.
1. It’s all in the timing.
The sun’s UV rays are the most intense between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Try to avoid being out in the sun during these peak hours. If you must go out, make sure to wear sunglasses. A wide-brim hat that keeps the sun off your face can add an extra layer of protection.
2. Protect your eyes in style.
Good sunglasses are a worthy investment — and they don’t have to be expensive. If you’re on a budget, make sure to look out for a few key features.
Your shades should offer 100% protection against UVA and UVB rays, according to the Environmental Protection Agency’s sun safety web page. Also consider polarized lenses, which protect eyes from sunlight reflected upward from water, cars, and cement.
Not only will you feel better, you’ll protect yourself from serious conditions like cataracts and skin cancer. Wear your sunglasses even on overcast days for full protection.
3. Get plenty of shut-eye.
Longer days and relaxed summer schedules can make it tempting to stay up late, but it’s important to get a full night’s sleep. A lack of sleep can make you rub your eyes more frequently, setting up scenarios for excessive dryness and infections. And if you suffer from summer allergies, your eyes will be even more irritated.
So make sure to give your eyes all the rest they need. You can even use a cool compress to soothe tired, red, or puffy eyes. The extra comfort will help you drift off to sleep and wake up even more refreshed.
4. Gear up with goggles.
Whether you’re taking a dip in the pool, doing yard work, or playing sports, goggles are crucial to keeping your eyes safe from harm.
- When swimming — If Olympic level swimmers are wearing goggles, you know it’s a good idea. This affordable swimming accessory will protect your eyes from bacteria and chemicals, whether you prefer the pool, the ocean, or a mountain lake. If you wear contact lenses, make sure to remove them before diving in.
- Home projects and lawn care — Safety first! Eye doctors often see injuries from yard work — usually from flying debris. Even a tiny scratch on your cornea (the eye’s surface) can be seriously painful, so when you tend to the yard or other household projects, make sure you and any kids watching are fully decked out in safety goggles.
- For sports and games — The U.S. Eye Injury Registry reports that 5% of all eye injuries result from baseballs. But injuries can occur with other sports, such as paintball and badminton. Keep those eyes covered to make sure a good time will be had by all.
To learn more about keeping your eyes healthy now and in the years to come, visit kp.org.
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