Summer’s around the corner, and that means exciting opportunities to hang out and spend time with the family. To start, summertime weather in Ontario is ideal for numerous outdoor activities, from picnics and park strolls to simply basking in the sun. But on top of embracing the sunlight and gentle breeze this season, parents and children must also watch out for heat warnings and sun exposure.
High temperatures can increase exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays, which are not only harmful to your skin but can also pose particular risks to your eye health. Read on to find out more about the importance of eye care and how you and your family can better protect your eyes—and make the most out of summertime.
The importance of eye care for you and your family
As previously mentioned, UV rays can harm the eyes, as this invisible form of electromagnetic radiation more easily penetrates the eye tissue than visible light. The Canadian Ophthalmological Society (COS) has emphasized that cumulative and prolonged UV exposure can increase the risk of developing eye conditions such as cataract formation and worsening eyesight.
Although UV intensity tends to be the highest during summer, year-round protection is crucial for optimal eye health. Moreover, younger Canadians are more susceptible to harmful UV rays, which means parents must take the necessary precautions. Below, we thus recommend lifestyle tips to keep your family’s eyes safe from UV rays.
Ways to protect your eyes this summer
Choose the right pair of sunglasses
Sunglasses are essential eyewear all year round, but they’re especially crucial for shielding your eyes from the intense sunlight during summer. Rather than solely relying on aesthetic appeal, it’s crucial to choose a pair of sunglasses that can offer 100% UV protection. For additional coverage around your eye area, you can also choose larger frame styles like aviators and cat-eye sunglasses.
Meanwhile, polarized lenses are suitable for all kinds of outdoor activities since they also reduce glare from reflective surfaces. Even family members who wear prescription glasses can opt for sunglasses that accommodate their eye grade to combine vision correction and eye protection.
Keep your eyes moisturized
During summer, extreme heat and dry winds can evaporate the tear film and significantly reduce the moisture in the eyes. When the surface of the eyes dries out for prolonged periods, this can lead to dry eye syndrome.
Dry eye syndrome may also worsen if you wear contact lenses or have seasonal allergies. Aside from using eye care products like artificial tears, staying hydrated can make a big difference in keeping the eyes moisturized.
Eat a healthy diet
Diet can also play a role in eye health, so consider integrating foods that are particularly good for the eyes into your meals and snacks. These eye-healthy foods include fruits like oranges, berries, and kiwi, which are rich in vitamin C and thus help prevent cataracts. Leafy green vegetables like kale and spinach can also boost eye health, as these contain the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin to keep the eyes sharp.
Get your eyes checked
Finally, summer is also a good time to keep up with your routine eye exams. Data shows 46% of Canadians have not gotten a comprehensive eye exam despite it being covered by their vision insurance benefits. Whether you have a family plan or pay an individual premium for each family member, don’t skip out on your appointment with your eye doctor this summer. These exams can help identify early signs of eye conditions and help you monitor your overall eye health.
As you and your family go out to have fun this summer, ensure that eye health remains a priority for everyone. By following the tips we’ve listed above, you can prevent eye conditions and permanent vision damage.