June heralds the official arrival of summer, which means plenty of sunshine and warm temperatures. The best way to beat the summer heat is typically with a refreshing swim. Whether you’re swimming in a pool or heading out on a beach vacation, we recommend that you follow these tips to keep your eyes healthy without diminishing your fun in the sun.
1. Wear Goggles
The water in rivers, lakes and oceans harbor bacteria and microbes. The most frequently found parasite is the Acanthamoeba, an organism that causes eye infections. Water in pools also consist of eye irritating chemicals. Goggles should be worn to protect your eyes in both types of environments while still enabling you to see underwater.
2. Remove Contact Lenses
Wearing contact lenses while swimming can lead to eye irritation, infections and much more serious complications, such as corneal ulcers. These are typically the result of microbes that attach themselves to the lenses and irritate the eye. Some other reasons as to why contact lenses should be taken out before you dive in include:
- Rigid lenses are likely to be displaced
- Soft lenses tend to absorb chemicals and bacteria, tightening the eye and causing irritation.
Prescription swimming goggles are the perfect solution to help you see clearly underwater and eliminate the risk of infection.
3. Use Eyedrops
Opening your eyes while underwater washes away the natural tears that lubricate your eyes and provokes certain eye conditions, such as dry eye syndrome. Using eyedrops before and after swimming helps minimize the drying effect of the water.
4. Wear Sunglasses When Out of the Water
Ultraviolet radiation can harm your eyes as much as your skin. Short-term, high-dose exposure to UV rays can cause photokeratitis, or inflammation of the cornea, and extended exposure has been connected to macular degeneration, cataracts and eye growths. High-energy visible (HEV) rays can also infiltrate the eye and cause damage to the retina. Sunshine reflecting off of the sand or water intensifies UV radiation, hence why it’s important to wear sunglasses when out of the water. Close-fitting, wraparound sunglasses are the best because they limit the amount of sunlight that reaches your eyes above and around the edge of your lenses.
5. Boost Your Antioxidant Intake
Research shows that people with low levels of vitamin C and other antioxidants face an increased risk of retinal damage from HEV radiation. Boosting your intake of antioxidant-rich foods will help reduce this vulnerability.
6. Drink Plenty of Fluids
The tear film that shields your eyes is 99 percent water. Drinking 8 to 10 glasses of water a day, and more on days when you go swimming, will help keep your tear film sufficiently hydrated and healthy.
7. Don’t Rub Your Eyes
When you get out of the water, avoid touching your eyes. Wash your hands, and then place a cold compress on your eyes to relieve any stinging or irritation.
CorrectVision Laser Institute is one of Florida’s most advanced vision correction practices with extensive experience in eye health. Our goal is to open your eyes to the world of great vision by offering unparalleled expertise and the most advanced technology available. Contact us today for a consultation with one of our South Florida eye specialists, located in Hollywood, Weston and Pembroke Pines!