It’s finally summer – and it’s all fun and games until somebody’s eye gets hurt. During the summer months the number of patients reporting to doctors’ offices and emergency rooms because of eye injuries increases exponentially. Keep that in mind while you are enjoying warm temperatures and the great outdoors.
Pool chemicals are added to keep germs from spreading, but they are also a major cause of eye injuries each summer. Before diving into the pool, keep in mind that nearly 5,000 pool chemical-related injuries are treated in U.S. hospital emergency rooms annually.
The three most common swimming pool chemical injuries are respiratory problems (from breathing in fumes), eye injuries and skin injuries, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Children and teens suffered nearly half of these injuries and more than one-third occurred at home, the CDC researchers found. Not surprisingly, most occurred between Memorial Day and Labor Day, with nearly half of these incidents happening over a weekend.
Eye doctors recommend that chemicals should always be handled, stored and labeled correctly, and most importantly administered according to directions.
If there is still a problem, such as irritated skin or red eyes, get out of the pool and consult a doctor. It’s also a good idea to wear goggles or mask when swimming.
With increased temperatures, swimming and boating in sometimes murky lake waters, and with allergens still hanging in the air, the risk for eye infections cannot be underestimated. Especially people who are wearing contacts should take extra precautions and make sure they handle their lenses appropriately.
Be extra cautious when swimming. You are not supposed to swim with your contact lenses on, but people do and the results often are not good. Water and contacts do not mix. If you need them to see while swimming make sure you clean them afterward to avoid eye infection.
A number of studies indicate that spending time in the sun without sunglasses can damage your eyes and contribute to cataracts and growths on the eye, including cancer. Based on these studies, eye doctors recommend that you wear 99 percent and higher UV-absorbent sunglasses and a hat for more shade whenever you’re in the sun.
With summer sun come hidden dangers to our eyes. Just like UV damage to skin can cause cancer, UV damage to eyes can be extremely harmful and is responsible for causing cataracts, macular degeneration, pinguecula and photokeratitis. You must do your part to protect your eyes.
Proper sunglasses are key to protecting your eyes from sun-related damage, and they look good too.
Fireworks: Don’t shoot your eye out with fireworks on the 4th of July. You’ve heard it before, but no matter how often this warning goes out, 8,500 people get hurt by fireworks each year in the U.S. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, roughly 2,000 of these are eye injuries with one-third of the eye injuries resulting in permanent eye damage. So once again, beware when handling fireworks.
Sports injuries: In the summer, everybody becomes an athlete – and with more people being active and outdoors the number of sports injuries and eye trauma goes up – from baseball bats to the eye, to boating accidents and snapped cords to branches or rocks hitting the eye while biking. Enjoy your summer activities but make sure you protect your eyes.
Outdoor Yard Work and DIY Projects
People are out gardening or working in their yards – mowing, planting, landscaping DIY home improvement projects in the summer. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, nearly 1.5 million eye injuries in the United States occur annually in the home. Even though 90 percent of these injuries could be prevented by using protective eyewear, a survey by the American Optometric Association showed that only 35 percent of people wear protective eyewear at home. It can happen to you, so please protect your eyes.
By embracing these simple tips you and your family can enjoy the summer sun safely while protecting your vision. The team at Tri-State Ophthalmology is wishing you a safe and enjoyable summer.
2841 Lexington Ave., Ashland, KY