Summer Fun in the Sun . . .
With Eye Protection
Summer is here and we all know what that means: fun in the sun, beaches, fireworks, and barbecue! Summertime should be known for fun, but as much as we love all these activities, they come with a higher risk of eye injuries. The doctors at Georgia Eye Specialists want you to be aware of the risks of eye injuries so you can have a safe and injury free summer. We’ve worked tirelessly for over 20 years to safeguard the vision of the good people of Marietta, GA., Northern Atlanta, Sandy Springs, Roswell, Cummings, East Cobb, Fair Oaks, Kennesaw, Smyrna, Woodstock, Alpharetta, Brookhaven, and surrounding areas.
According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), 2.5 million eye injuries occur every year and more than half of them happen within or around the home. Researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham showed the occurrence of eye injuries to increase in May and June and reaching a peak in the month of July. So the Summer months are when see most eye injuries and when we have to be extra careful.
What kind of eye injuries can we see increase in the Summer?
- Overall, the leading cause of eye injury in children 15 and younger is sports, specifically swimming. Pool chemicals, which can cause eye irritation, play a prominent role in these injuries, as does being hit by water toys or flying elbows and feet. Other sports include basketball, baseball, racquetball, softball and an increased use of guns (air, gas, spring and BB) following close behind. Also, fishing injuries from flying hooks can occur.
- Fireworks during the 4th of July holiday are a source of severe eye injuries. According to the AAO, 8,500 people get hurt by fireworks each year in the U.S. and 2,000 of these are eye injuries with one-third of the eye injuries resulting in permanent eye damage. Sparklers and firecrackers head the list of fireworks-induced injury, with sparklers causing nearly half of all injuries in children less than five years of age. Sparklers can reach 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Watch out for that barbecue grill! Lighter fluid and matches make for a potentially dangerous situation if not used correctly.
- Prolonged sun exposure is common during the summer months. Photokeratitis, or ultraviolet keratitis, is actually a burn on the cornea from ultraviolet light. It can occur more frequently when people are exposed to sunlight for long hours without adequate eye protection. The most damaging are the ultraviolet rays, which are classified as UVA and UVB.Often times people don’t realize it is an issue until the next day when their eyes are in pain. UV light can also accelerate the formation of pterygia, cataracts, and macular degeneration as we age.
So what can we do about these summer injuries? Prevention, prevention, prevention. The best thing we can do is prevent the eye injury from happening in the first place. Here are some tips on how to prevent eye injuries:
- Leave the lighting of fireworks to trained professionals and never let children play with fireworks.
- Eye protection! Wearing safety glasses around objects that could fly in the eye unexpectedly and when using hazardous materials that could splash in your eyes. They should also be worn during high risk sports and recreational activities like racquetball or paintball.
- Wear sunglasses labeled 100 percent ultraviolet protection when out in the sun.
- Wear a hat along with your sunglasses.
- Fishermen have to be wary of who is behind them when casting for fear of striking someone with a hook or fishing weights.
- Common sense! Be aware of your surroundings and the activities you are doing to make sure you have the necessary eye protection.
Now that we know the potential dangers of eye injuries in the summertime, we can prepare in advance to try and prevent them. Most injuries can be treated but the best way to treat them is to prevent them from happening in the first place. So go out there, have fun, and be safe while you enjoy all the fun that you can have this summer!
Just a few simple things can safeguard your vision. It’s easy, quick and better than a poke in the eye!