In Texas, there’s more to summer than just warm weather and fun outdoors activities. With daily UV index exposures easily reaching “extreme” (an 11-15 on the UV Index scale), summer eye protection is incredibly important to eye and vision health.
Sun protection for the eyes and visual health goes beyond sunglasses. Consider the following tips before spending time in the sun this season.
Wear Sunglasses, Even on Cloudy Days
The importance of wearing sunglasses is drilled into our brains every year, and for good reason. Prolonged UV exposure can cause changes in vision, cataracts, and other permanent damage to the eye. Even on cloudy days, UV exposure can still be high enough to cause damage.
Make sure your sunglasses protect against both UVA and UVB rays and wear them any time you are outdoors in the summer.
Wear Goggles When Swimming
There are risks to eye health other than UV rays, and swimming is one of them. When swimming in pools, chlorine exposure can irritate and possibly cause damage to the eye, especially with repeated exposure. And swimming in rivers, lakes, and other natural water sources run the same risks with bacteria. Wearing goggles helps to protect against chemicals and bacteria that may put your eyes at risk.
Wearing Hats Helps Too
Wearing hats in the summer, especially on sunny days, is recommended to protect your face and neck from sun exposure. However, hats also function as a form of summer eye protection. Think of them as a second line of defense, after sunglasses of course.
Take a hat along with you when you plan on spending the day outside and you can protect both your skin and your eyes at the same time. Not only do you protect against permanent skin and eye damage, but you’ll also be less likely to ‘show your age’ down the road—sun exposure is a common cause of premature aging.
Practice a Healthy Lifestyle
The benefits of exercise, adequate sleep and a healthy diet are many, but who knew a healthy lifestyle was a form of summer eye protection? Like with many aspects of our lives, our eye and vision health is better off when we practice a healthy lifestyle.
We are better equipped to combat stress and damage to the eyes when we receive proper nutrition, are active and healthy, and are getting enough sleep. And hey, who doesn’t need a good excuse for a nap?
Drink Enough Water
Dehydration occurs when the body loses more fluids than it takes in. Houston residents are also more likely to suffer dehydration during the hot summer months, especially during prolonged outdoor activities in the heat of the day. This can affect your eye health, causing dry eye symptoms and other vision problems. Drinking plenty of water during the summer (and year-round!) can help prevent dehydration.
Stay Up-to-Date on Eye Exams
You may already be up-to-date on you and your family’s eye exams, but if not, schedule an appointment with a Berkeley Eye Center near you. It is recommended to have a yearly eye exam in addition to practicing careful summer eye protection. Request an appointment via our website or give us a call at 713-526-3937.