Eye Protection during summer

Author : Dr. Ashwin Santosh Shetty 

Consultant, Ophthalmology, Aster CMI Hospital


Did you know protecting your eyes from UV exposure is as important as protecting your skin?

Summer's bright sunshine can be a double-edged sword for our eyes. While it allows us to fully appreciate the beauty of the season, prolonged exposure to UV rays can pose a threat to our vision. The impact of summer fun on young and old alike. Our vision is truly a gift, allowing us to navigate the world and experience its wonders. The human eye is a complex and marvelously designed organ, far more sophisticated than a simple camera. It's this intricate design that makes it vulnerable to sun damage.

Summer brings vacations and sunshine, but with it comes the risk of UV damage. We plan trips, stay hydrated, and boost our diets, but often forget eye protection. Just like skin, eyes need shielding from UV rays. Even small amounts over time can raise the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration. Unlike visible light, UV rays penetrate deep into eye tissues, increasing the risk of eye problems.  Other than dryness, wrinkles, accentuated skin furrows, sagging, loss of elasticity and mottled pigmentation exposure to UV rays can cause serious eyesight problems that include:

A cataract is caused when the overall exposure to sunlight weakens the eye’s natural lens and causes blurry vision or less color. 

Macular degeneration is a change or damage to the eye that weakens the Macula – a light-sensitive retinal tissue nerve responsible for seeing things through a direct line of vision. This condition may cause a blurry line of vision. 

Sunshine and outdoor adventures are calling for kids this summer, but with that fun comes sun safety! Did you know a whopping 80% of lifetime UV eye damage occurs before age 18? Protect your little ones' precious peepers! Make sure they wear sunglasses that block UV rays while enjoying summer sports and activities. It's not just about looking cool (although they will!), it's vital to keep their eyes safe from harmful UV rays. Some of the best ways to safeguard your eyes during this summer season are:

Wearing sunglasses/hat: One of the simplest and coolest ways to maintain fashion and protect your eyes is to wear sunglasses or a hat. But keep in mind to choose a sun glass that protects fits you well and blocks light from entering your eyes. Sunglasses are now available in all sizes.

Wear SPF 15 or higher: When you remove your glasses, it is important to protect your skin under them. Thus choose an SPF that is safe for your face and the skin under your eyes. 

Stay Indoors: Choose to stay indoors during the part of the day when the sun is the strongest, usually between 10 A.M. to 4 P.M. Make sure to check the weather forecast before you step out. Protect your eyes when it is cloudy as it could damage your eyes. Make sure to not look directly at the sun, as it could damage your retina. 

Other measures to keep in mind:

·        Choose suitable sunscreen: It is a known fact that sunscreen prevents skin cancer. Often misplaced sunscreens can cause redness and burning and if left unnoticed it may lead to blurred vision in the eyes. 

·        Underwater Eye Protection:   Enroll in swimming classes during summer. Make sure you wear goggles to protect your eyes from irritation caused due to the water. 

·        Stay hydrated:  Dehydration can contribute to dry eyes, and it can cause eyestrain, blurred vision, dryness, and irritation in the eyes, which can cause a lot of discomfort during the summer. Drink plenty of water and fluids which are not added with artificial sweeteners throughout the day.

·        Exercise for eyes: Follow the 20:20:20 rule, i.e., every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds), which can strengthen eye muscles, is recommended.

Thus, with adequate safety precautions, it is possible to protect your eyes and enjoy your summer to the fullest. Prevent sun damage beforehand by following these above steps. If you continue to face issues with your eyes or eyelids, consult an eye doctor as soon as possible. 

Just like applying sunscreen to your skin, wearing sunglasses that block UV rays is crucial.  By prioritizing healthy habits like sun protection, one can safeguard their precious sense and continue to see the world in all its vibrant glory. (The author has his own study and views)