Summer alert: Too much sun can damage your eyes

Sand on your feet, warm summer breeze: summer is really here!
During the hottest season of the year, people often spend more time outdoors, which means prolonged exposure to the rays of the sun. Harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays may cause serious eye conditions like cataracts and macular degeneration. If it worsens, it could lead to blindness.

To protect our eyes from the long-term damaging effects of the sun, Essilor, the world leader in vision solutions, has launched ‘Seeing the World Better’ a public awareness campaign to promote healthy vision through prevention, protection and correction. Here are a few eye care tips before hitting the beach this summer:

• Use sun lenses with E-SPF.  The heat of the midday summer is three times greater than other seasons. Temperature rises from 35 to 37 degrees Celsius, making UV rays more threatening to our eyes. To prevent eye damage, wear sunglasses with Eye-Sun Protection Factor (E-SPF). E-SPF is an objective rating system that indicates the overall UV protection of your lenses, with values varying from two to 25 for clear lenses, and up to 50+ for sun lenses. The higher the E-SPF, the higher the UV protection. Unfortunately, not all lenses, whether clear or tinted, have equal UV protection levels.

• Not many people know that tinted sunglasses don’t necessarily guarantee the right amount of protection for the eyes. Sometimes, clear lenses have more E-SPF than tinted ones.

• Wear swimming goggles.  According to the American Optometric Association’s (AOA) American Eye-Q® survey, 42 percent of swimmers open their eyes while swimming in chlorinated water. Exposing the eyes to chlorinated pool water can drastically increase the chances of redness or irritation. To prevent this from happening, use goggles that will shield your eyes from this strong chemical.

• Goggles can also spare your eyes from contracting eye infection caused by improperly chlorinated pools. If pool water gets in the eyes, flush out with warm water to prevent irritation or chemical conjunctivitis. If warm water can’t do the trick, consult an eye doctor immediately to effectively wash out the chemicals through saline or topical steroids.

• See an eye doctor.  Before going on a summer adventure, consult an eye care professional on how to properly care for the eyes, and what trusted brands of optical lenses will give the right amount of E-SPF.

Caring for the eyes especially during summer is truly important. Harmful UV rays are everywhere so the eyes are always at risk. Following these simple eye care tips will make great outdoor adventures more enjoyable. So before heading to the beach, make sure to apply sunscreen – and keep your sunglasses on.