Your eyes are one of the most delicate organs in your body, and once they’re damaged, it is either difficult or impossible to restore your vision to what it once was! That’s why Raleigh Eye Center encourages all our patients to take good care of your eyes this summer, as much as you do your skin. Here are some ways to protect your eyes all season long.
Let’s start with the obvious one: Sunglasses. You already probably protect your skin from ultraviolet radiation so that it doesn’t burn. Our eyes might not get sunburnt, but they need similar protection. (Well, actually, they do— when UVR is reflected off smooth surfaces such as water or snow, it causes a sort of eyeball sunburn called photokeratitis, or snow blindness.) Continual UVR exposure, particularly exposure to UVB rays, may cause cataracts, pterygium (a non-cancerous growth over the cornea) or skin cancer of the eyelids.
In order to keep your eyes healthy and safe, be sure to purchase and wear sunglasses with 100-percent protection against both UVA and UVB rays. Many inexpensive brands of sunglasses offer this protection, so even if you are on a budget, you will still have a wide variety of affordable choices.
Even if you wear sunglasses every time you go outside, you are not protecting your eyes and eyelids from UV exposure, since sunglasses usually have gaps along the sides where UVR exposure occurs. This places you at risk for basal cell carcinoma, a form of skin cancer that typically affects the eyelids. While it most commonly occurs on the lower eyelid, it can also develop in the corners of the eye or under the eyebrows, and even spread to the eye itself. Adding a hat with a brim that’s at least 3 inches wide decreases your exposure and minimizes your risk of developing BCC.
Sunlight isn’t the only thing that threatens your eye health this summer—chlorine from the pool is hazardous, too. A 2008 study revealed that frequent exposure to chlorine negatively affects the integrity of your corneal epithelium, which provides a layer of protection to your cornea from irritants and pathogens.
The easiest way to prevent cornea damage is by wearing goggles every time you swim in a pool. This also applies to swimming in the ocean or other natural bodies of water, as they contain other contaminants that may cause infection.
Dehydration is another common summer eye problem. Serious dehydration makes it harder for the body to produce tears, leading to dry eye symptoms and other vision problems. Drinking plenty of water each day can prevent and reverse many of the negative effects of dehydration, as well as provide enough fluid for normal eye function.
By taking a proactive approach to eye care during the hot summer months, you can minimize the amount of time you need professional eye care. When you are looking for an optometrist in Raleigh, the experts at Raleigh Eye Center are here to help. To schedule an appointment with our Raleigh eye doctor clinic, click here.