Summer has always been the US’s peak season for outdoor getaways with family and friends. And with more people traveling and having fun with outdoor activities, there is an increased danger of being affected by the summer heat.
Reports show that this year’s summer was much longer and hotter; half the world’s population experienced extreme heat during the June to August period. This has increased the likelihood of people getting heat-related illnesses, potentially worsening as they spend more time outdoors on vacation.
While sunnier days open up many travel opportunities, there is also an increased risk of sun damage. Not only does this damage our skin through sunburn, but our eyes can also be harmed through ultraviolet (UV) radiation. To prevent this, taking the proper precautions to avoid eye damage is essential. In this article, we’ll explore how you can ensure eye safety and comfort on your next outdoor adventure.
Wear sunglasses with UV protection
As mentioned earlier, the sun poses the most significant danger to our eyes. UVA and UVB rays can deeply penetrate eye tissues and damage your eyes, leading to several vision-related problems such as cataracts, pterygium, and photokeratitis. As such, most doctors recommend wearing sunglasses that can block 100% UVA or UVB rays to maintain your eyesight.
Aside from UV protection, there are other features to consider when finding the perfect pair of sunglasses. This depends on what you plan to do during your outdoor getaway, so it’s best to buy sunglasses with polarized lenses that adjust to light conditions and lens colors that match your environment and outdoor activity.
Brands like Oakley offer styles like the Holbrook and Frogskins that can provide polarization to keep glare from the sun and reflective surfaces away from the eyes. On the other hand, it may be better to get gray lenses for sufficient contrast and light transmission for everyday activities. Investing in a good pair of sunglasses improves the quality of your vision and helps you avoid eye strain, allowing you to enjoy outdoor sights to the fullest.
Invest in a hat
While sunglasses will prevent most of the sun’s rays from entering your eyes, there are gaps on the sides of your sunglasses. Consider wearing a hat to protect yourself from damaging UV rays to minimize exposure. This headwear can not only shade over the unshielded areas around your sunglasses, but you also benefit from protecting your head against the hot sun.
One type of hat that continues to be popular for those engaging in outdoor activities is the bucket hat. The 2-3-inch brim can provide protection to your face, ears, and back of the neck. These hats can also be worn on any outdoor occasion, including picnics, hangouts, hiking, and fishing.
For the best protection, pick hat variants with wider brims. A bonus of wearing a hat is that it shades your glasses and prevents them from overheating and burning your skin, a common problem when wearing frames made of dark colors or metal.
Use eye drops when needed
Under the hot weather or during windy days outside, your eyes can quickly dry out and cause pain or other problems. Eye drops can be handy when dealing with irritating symptoms outdoors, especially if you wear contact lenses or suffer from seasonal allergies.
However, if you rely on eye drops too much, seeing an ophthalmologist is best. Dry eyes may be a sign of continual exposure to allergens or serious vision-related conditions, so having a consultation enables you to address any underlying causes. They may also be able to recommend eye drops that suit your specific needs.
Follow safe swimming practices
Summer is prime time for swimming, but also for water-related infections. While the risks are higher in natural bodies of water, you can still catch an infection from chlorine-treated pools. To protect your eyes, here are some good swimming practices you should follow:
- Learn before your trip if a lake, river, or ocean is safe for swimming by researching online or checking the surrounding environment. Avoid getting in if the water looks cloudier, discolored, or smells bad.
- Remove all contact lenses before swimming. Swimming with them can increase the risk of corneal abrasion, dry eye syndrome, and eye inflammation (uveitis). Instead, wear swimming goggles for additional protection.
- Especially for kids, ensure everyone has a bathroom break each hour to keep body waste out of the water and prevent germs from spreading
- After swimming, splash your eyes with fresh water to rinse out any leftover irritants
- Sunny days and the heat can cause you to be sick and ruin your holiday if you’re not careful. But by following the above tips, you can ensure your eyes are safe from harm and remain comfortable during travels. If you’re headed somewhere around the tropics like The Galapagos or the Bahamas, where the sun is especially bright and hot, eye safety and protection is a must to enjoy the experience.