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5 Ways to Get Your Eyes Summer Ready
 
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Written By: Kierstan Boyd

Apr. 28, 2017

As the weather gets warmer and the days grow longer, we often think about improving our health and getting into better shape. As you prepare to enjoy the outdoors this summer, don’t forget a plan for keeping your eyes happy as well.

Here are five ways to keep your eyes safe and healthy this summer:

1. Avoid getting a “sunburn of the eye.”

When sunlight shines off water, sand or other highly reflective surfaces into your eyes, it can cause a very painful condition called photokeratitis. This is when the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays burn the surface of your eye. Painrednessblurriness and even temporary vision loss are symptoms of this condition. Prevent photokeratitis by wearing sunglasses that are marked “100% UV protection.” Also, wear a broad-rimmed hat for added eye protection.

2. Prevent “swimmer’s eye” in the pool.

Pools can be tough on the eyes. Chemicals used to keep the water clean, such as chlorine, can affect the natural tear film that keeps our eyes moist and healthy. The result? Red, gritty-feeling eyes and blurry vision. Keep eyes feeling and looking good by wearing swim goggles in the pool, and splash your closed eyes with fresh water immediately after getting out of the pool.

3. Keep dry eye at bay.

Spending time outside when it is hot, dry or windy can irritate a common condition called dry eye. A hot, dry environment affects the tear film, drying out the eye’s surface. To protect your eyes in these conditions, wear wrap-around glasses to keep wind from your eye’s surface. Also, use artificial tears (preferably those that are preservative-free) to keep eyes moist and refreshed.

4. Don’t play around with eye safety.

Spending more time outside often means more outdoor work and play. Whether mowing the lawn, trimming weeds or playing baseball, always wear the proper protective eyewear.

More than half of all eye injuries occur at home, yet only about one out of every three people wears eye protection when they should. Don’t be an eye injury statistic!

5. Quit smoking.

When thinking about getting healthy this summer, think about quitting smoking. Cigarette smoke, including second-hand smoke, not only worsens dry eye, but is a risk factor for many eye diseases, including cataractsmacular degeneration and more. Quitting smoking reduces your risk of getting eye disease and other major health problems.

This article was originally published by the American Academy of Ophthalmology

 
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March is Workplace Eye Wellness Month
 
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Each year, nearly 25,000 Americans visit the emergency room due to a workplace eye injury. During Workplace Eye Wellness Month this March, the American Academy of Ophthalmology reminds employers and workers about the importance of wearing certified and approved eye protection.

Your eyes are an important part of your health. There are many things you can do to keep them healthy and make sure you are seeing your best. Follow these simple steps for maintaining healthy eyes well into your golden years.

Have a comprehensive dilated eye exam. You might think your vision is fine or that your eyes are healthy, but visiting your eye care professional for a comprehensive dilated eye exam is the only way to really be sure. When it comes to common vision problems, some people don’t realize they could see better with glasses or contact lenses. In addition, many common eye diseases such as glaucoma, diabetic eye disease and age-related macular degeneration often have no warning signs. A dilated eye exam is the only way to detect these diseases in their early stages.

During a comprehensive dilated eye exam, your eye care professional places drops in your eyes to dilate, or widen, the pupil to allow more light to enter the eye the same way an open door lets more light into a dark room. This enables your eye care professional to get a good look at the back of the eyes and examine them for any signs of damage or disease. Your eye care professional is the only one who can determine if your eyes are healthy and if you’re seeing your best.

Know your family’s eye health history. Talk to your family members about their eye health history. It’s important to know if anyone has been diagnosed with a disease or condition since many are hereditary. This will help to determine if you are at higher risk for developing an eye disease or condition.

Eat right to protect your sight. You’ve heard carrots are good for your eyes. But eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, particularly dark leafy greens such as spinach, kale, or collard greens is important for keeping your eyes healthy, too.i Research has also shown there are eye health benefits from eating fish high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, tuna, and halibut.

Maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight or obese increases your risk of developing diabetes and other systemic conditions, which can lead to vision loss, such as diabetic eye disease or glaucoma. If you are having trouble maintaining a healthy weight, talk to your doctor.

Wear protective eyewear. Wear protective eyewear when playing sports or doing activities around the home. Protective eyewear includes safety glasses and goggles, safety shields, and eye guards specially designed to provide the correct protection for a certain activity. Most protective eyewear lenses are made of polycarbonate, which is 10 times stronger than other plastics. Many eye care providers sell protective eyewear, as do some sporting goods stores.

Quit smoking or never start. Smoking is as bad for your eyes as it is for the rest of your body. Research has linked smoking to an increased risk of developing age-related macular degeneration, cataract, and optic nerve damage, all of which can lead to blindness.ii,iii

Be cool and wear your shades. Sunglasses are a great fashion accessory, but their most important job is to protect your eyes from the sun’s ultraviolet rays. When purchasing sunglasses, look for ones that block out 99 to 100 percent of both UV-A and UV-B radiation.

Give your eyes a rest. If you spend a lot of time at the computer or focusing on any one thing, you sometimes forget to blink and your eyes can get fatigued. Try the 20-20-20 rule: Every 20 minutes, look away about 20 feet in front of you for 20 seconds. This can help reduce eyestrain.

Clean your hands and your contact lenses properly. To avoid the risk of infection, always wash your hands thoroughly before putting in or taking out your contact lenses. Make sure to disinfect contact lenses as instructed and replace them as appropriate.

Practice workplace eye safety. Employers are required to provide a safe work environment. When protective eyewear is required as a part of your job, make a habit of wearing the appropriate type at all times and encourage your coworkers to do the same.

Source: National Eye Institute

 
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