During the summer months, it is important to protect your eyes from the negative effects of the sun, sand, algae, and bacteria in the water. All these factors increase the risk of eye inflammation. So, how can you properly care for your eyes during the summer?
Sunglasses: Intense sunlight can have adverse effects on your vision. In the long term, it can contribute to the development of cataracts and, in rare cases, damage the retina. “If the eyes are exposed to UV radiation for a prolonged period, it can damage the surface of the conjunctiva and cornea, leading to corneal or conjunctival inflammation, which often manifests as eye and eyelid irritation, burning, and redness,” warned Pavel Stodůlka, the head of the Gemini Eye Clinics network. Therefore, it is important to protect your eyes with high-quality sunglasses that have UV filters, especially for children.
Risks at the beach: Saltwater, sand, and wind can also harm your eyes. “Opening your eyes underwater for a short time without protective goggles is usually not a problem if the water is not polluted and the diver has healthy eyes. However, extended periods underwater with open eyes can cause eye irritation and subsequent problems,” cautioned Pavel Stodůlka. Saltwater, sand, and strong winds can irritate the eyes, and in some cases, it can lead to conjunctivitis, which can be treated with appropriate eye drops.
Beware of algae: Unmaintained natural bodies of water may contain algae. Overgrown bacteria and viruses can harm the surface of the eye. It can lead to conjunctival or corneal inflammation, potentially causing permanent damage to vision. Particularly, small children, older people, pregnant women, individuals with allergies, and contact lens wearers should protect their eyes with swimming goggles when swimming in such water. “Eye sensitivity to chlorinated water in swimming pools is also not uncommon. Therefore, it is good to rinse the eyes with clean water after swimming or use artificial tears, which will cleanse the eyes, remove any impurities, and provide soothing relief,” recommended Pavel Stodůlka.Disposable contact lenses: Contact lens wearers should choose lenses with UV filters during the summer months, and if they plan to go into the water, they should opt for disposable lenses. When swimming with contact lenses, it is advisable not to open your eyes underwater without wearing swim goggles. “If a person swims with their head above the water for an extended period, it is advisable to wear sunglasses, as more sunlight is reflected into the face and eyes from the water surface,” said Pavel Stodůlka.