Along with regular eye exams with your optometrist, it is important to maintain eye health and ensure your vision is good. One way to keep your eyes healthy is to protect them from the sun. Direct exposure to the sun can cause discomfort and irritation to the eyes. Over time, prolonged exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays can damage your eyes or increase the risk of eye diseases.

In the summer, the daylight hours are longer, and the sunlight feels more intense. Summer is a time for social activities and events, including outdoor picnics, barbecues, and sports. As you go from one activity to the next, be sure to properly protect your eyes from the sun.

Here are 5 tips to protect your vision from the summer sun:

1. Wear UV Blocking Lenses

If you already wear prescription eyeglasses or contact lenses, consider using the ones that have UV protection. Nowadays, many eyeglass lenses are coated with materials that can offer more protection for your eyes. If you are updating your eyeglasses, consider asking your provider for lens options that include UV protection. Some examples include transition lenses, anti-reflective coatings, blue light-filtering lenses, or other specific UV-blocking coatings. When purchasing eyeglasses, be sure to ask your provider about the UV protection properties of the available lenses. If you prefer to use contact lenses, consider asking your provider if lenses with UV-blocking properties could be a good fit for you.

2. Wear Sunglasses

Sunglasses provide a barrier that can shield your eyes and surrounding areas from UV rays. Wearing sunglasses can provide more coverage and protection for your eyes during the day. Bright sunlight can cause discomfort for your eyes and make it difficult to maintain clear vision. Wearing sunglasses reduces the amount of light that enters your eyes and allows you to see your surroundings more comfortably. Furthermore, sunglasses can also serve as a protective barrier for the skin surrounding your eyes, which is thinner and more delicate compared to the skin on the other parts of your face. By wearing sunglasses, especially those with larger frames, you can protect both your eyes as well as the delicate skin that surrounds your eyes. When choosing sunglasses, look for those with UV protection properties, which can filter out harmful rays from reaching your eyes, and with larger frames that can provide coverage and protection from various angles.

3. Wear a Wide-Brimmed Hat

A hat is a valuable accessory that can help protect your eyes from the sun. When choosing a hat to wear for sun protection, opt for one with a wide brim. Hats designed for outdoor use, such as baseball caps or sun hats, typically have wide brims that can shade your face from direct sunlight. A hat with a wide brim can physically block sunlight from reaching your eyes and the area around them. By casting a shadow over your face and eyes, hats can help reduce glare from the sun and reduce your need to squint, allowing you to see more comfortably in bright environments. Wearing a hat with a wide brim can reduce the direct exposure of your eyes to the sun’s UV rays.

4. Limit Your Sun Exposure

In addition to wearing protective gear, it is also important to be mindful of the amount of time you spend in direct sunlight. The longer you are exposed to the sun, the more your eyes are exposed to the sun’s UV rays. Limiting the time you spend under direct sunlight, especially during peak sunlight hours, is a preventive measure you can take to protect your eyes from the summer sun. When outdoors, make sure to wear appropriate eye protection, such as sunglasses and hats, and take breaks in shaded areas. Staying in the shade shields your eyes from direct UV ray exposure. Shade also reduces the glare caused by sunlight and allows your eyes to see your environment more comfortably. Combining other practices, such as wearing sunglasses and hats, while staying in the shade can be a comprehensive approach to protecting your eyes from the sun.

5. Keep Your Eyes Hydrated

The hot conditions in the summer can lead to dry eyes, which can cause discomfort and irritation. Dry eyes tend to be more sensitive to light and glare, so it can be more difficult to see clearly. To keep your eyes hydrated throughout the summer, be sure to stay hydrated and to drink plenty of water throughout the day. In addition to protecting your eyes from UV rays, wearing sunglasses can also protect your eyes from wind and dry air. For some individuals, using eye drops, also known as artificial tears, can provide immediate relief from dryness and can help keep eyes moisturized. In the summer, your eyes are exposed to more sunlight, which can lead to discomfort if your eyes are dry. Keeping your eyes hydrated is a way to maintain optimal eye health.

By incorporating these measures to your activities, you can protect your eyes from the harsh summer sun. Protecting your eyes from the sun is a year-round endeavor, and it is important to maintain optimal eye health throughout the year. Remember to visit your eye doctor regularly and to consult with your provider if you have concerns pertaining to eye health.