Summer is a beautiful season here in Chicago, but it can be hard on the eyes. Following are some common summertime eye health issues and ways to avoid them.
- After-swim irritation. If you hit the pool, make sure you wear goggles or a mask during swims or water play. Chemicals used in pools can cause a high level of discomfort. Even “natural” water environments, like lakes and ponds, can contain irritants that affect the eyes.
- Harmful UV rays. We recommend wearing sunglasses year round and especially in the summer. Longer days and more time spent outdoors leads to greatest exposure to UV rays, which has been linked to the development of eye diseases like cataracts and AMD. In the short term, lack of protection can result in photokeratitis, which is sunburn of the eye. Symptoms are pain, redness and a feeling that something gritty is in the eye.
- Fireworks. According to the American Academy of Opthalmology, 2,000 fireworks-related eye injuries happen every year, and one third end up causing permanent damage. Leave the fireworks to the professionals, and if you are one, protect your eyes with safety goggles.
- Insect bites. Insect bites around the eye can cause swelling and irritation, often more so than on other parts of the body, as skin around the eye is more tender. Never use any products to prevent or soothe insect bites that aren’t recommended for use around the eye. Use a cold compress to decrease swelling. Call our office if you are concerned about any insect bites near the eye. We have several options for treatment.
- Sports-related injuries. Summer sports such as baseball, water sports and racquet sports have some of the highest rates of eye injury. If you or someone in your family participates in any of these, talk to us about options for protective eyewear. We can counsel you on what works best for specific sports. Keep in mind that 90 percent of sports-related eye injuries are estimated to be preventable.
As always, please get in touch with us for eye health concerns you have over the summer or any time of year.