Ready for summer? This is likely where most sites would mention something about a “beach body” and tell you about the latest diet trend. But at RYV, we’re more concerned about your eyes. Exercising and dieting are definitely important, but we’re all about eating the right things to boost your eyesight rather than sit-ups! Taking care of your eyes and keeping them strong is a seriously important matter, and we’re here to keep you informed on the common, but ignored, eye dangers out there. The warmer months are glorious ones, but they come with new dangers for your visual system. Summer eye care is something you need to pay attention to.
Bust out your beach bag, we’ve got some additions for you to make. There are a few must-have items for any summer outing. Make sure to bring these important eye-healthy accessories along, no matter where you plan on enjoying the sun.
Sunglasses Are Your Best Friend
You’ll see them mentioned frequently here on RYV, but we really can’t kick this list off without them. Without shades, the intense summer sun can have your sensitive eyes hurt in a hurry. Even if you do manage to find a beach umbrella or something similar, it won’t offer the full protection of sunglasses. UV light is the real threat here, and unless you bring along some polarized lenses, you will absolutely get a first-hand lesson of what it can do to your eyes.
Stare at the sun too much and you stand to come down with a case of photokeratitis – quite literally sunburn of the eyes. The above description probably clued you in, but these can really, really ruin your day. Extreme discomfort, tearing, and a feeling often compared to sand in the eye are the most common effects. Keep your vacation comfortable – bring some nice sunglasses.
Gaga for Goggles
Yes, we know they’re a little dorky, but they’re important. If you’re planning on spending time in the swimming pool this summer, swim goggles can make life much nicer. This entry is particularly important for children; adults can often bring their sunglasses into the water with them, but for splash and dive-prone kids, that probably won’t be enough.
The moment you start going underwater, you expose your eyes to a new host of dangers. Red, itchy eyes are often the consequence of going goggle-less, and while the chemical to blame was long thought to be chlorine (a common addition to pool water), the actual cause turns out to be a little grosser. According to the CDC’s most recent safe swimming report, it’s urine. Lovely, right? Turns out that when urine and chlorine mix, they create a unique compound responsible for that trademark irritant effect on your eyes. Find a nice pair of goggles for your child, for the sake of their eyes – and your appetite.
Don’t Forget Your Allergy Medication
“Spring fever” isn’t always limited to spring. While it’s true that by June and July, a lot of the main allergenic offenders have already had their say, some are just starting to kick into high gear. Tree and grass pollen often dominate the earlier months, but as the hot days wear on, an even more prolific offender begins to find its stride.
We’re talking about ragweed. These little plants produce a particularly persistent, allergenic pollen. When someone says they’ve got serious plant allergies, odds are they have a sensitivity to ragweed. Pollen production begins in midsummer and often continues until the frosts of late fall.
This gives allergy sufferers about three solid months of misery. Eyes are particularly hard hit by pollen, and a major flare-up can cause redness, irritation, dryness, and even distinctive “black eyes” for some. Even if you’re not running into trouble at home, a road trip or similar out-of-town excursion could take you straight into the middle of ragweed country. Do yourself a favor and keep some quality allergy solutions close at hand.
Look for an Eye Wash
The most important takeaway from this section: it’s good to carry an eye wash with you, and it’s much better to understand when a wash is needed. Summer is unfortunately rife with eye irritants. Sunscreen and bug repellent can run with sweat and cause problems. Even worse, the oils from plants such as poison sumac and ivy can wind up finding an extremely painful home in your eyes.
If you should encounter one of these problems, an immediate eye wash is generally your best quick response before expert help arrives. You can find portable bottles of sterile wash, which can be handy in removing minor problems such as sand in the eye, but in more serious cases, most first aid resources recommend finding a sink or hose and flushing for an extended period of time.
If it still hurts after that first, quick eye wash? For goodness’ sake, call 911. We realize that it can be a scary step to take, but your eyes are delicate, sensitive organs, and if you’ve got any doubts as to their safety, get some professional help as soon as you can.
And, Don’t Leave Out Leafy Greens
Well, maybe don’t carry them on you, but be sure not to skimp on them when you’re out in the sun. Summer understandably screams “barbecue!” more than it does “spinach!” but don’t let the greens fall by the wayside. There are plenty of great summer foods that the whole family can enjoy.
Leafy greens are a key part of your body’s natural defenses against sun damage. When your body is exposed to UV light, you’ll wind up with increased levels of volatile, potentially damaging chemicals called free radicals. Let them run rampant and you put yourself at greater risk of serious eye disorders, including cataracts, in later life.
Fortunately, some of the pigments found in green veggies, known as carotenoids, specialize in quenching and neutralizing free radicals, toning down the risk they pose to your eyes, and increasing your odds of having healthy eyes for years to come.
These are just a few of the essentials you should remember for fun in the sun this summer. Protecting your eyes is always important, but you should definitely take extra care in the harsh summer months.