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It’s that time of year when we all want to spend more time outdoors.  Activities might include gardening, mowing and trimming, getting around to those clean-up projects, and participating in a favorite sport.  Whatever you’re doing, it’s important to protect your eyes from potential risks.  The American Academy of Ophthalmology (www.aao.org) notes that accidental eye injury is one of the leading causes of visual impairment in the United States and that 90% of these injuries are preventable.

Remember these three things to keep your eyes safe from flying debris, chemicals, sun, and anything else that might present a risk to your vision health this summer:

  1. Woman wearing safety glassesAlways wear eye protection. This might mean eyewear with side shields or safety goggles, depending on the activity.  Your eye doctor can recommend appropriate eye protection for your sport of choice. If your eyewear is meant to be worn in the sun, be sure to choose quality sunglasses that offer 100% UV-A and UV-B protection. 
  2. Identify potential hazards before you begin an activity. If you’re going to mow the lawn, check the yard for objects that might become airborne and harm your vision. If it’s a fix-it project, get those goggles on to prevent fumes, dust particles, sparks, debris, or chemicals from making contact with your eyes.
  3. Know what to do in case of an accident. For a chemical splash, flood your eyes with cool, clean water for 15-20 minutes.  Afterward, seek medical attention at an emergency room. If you get a foreign body stuck in your eye, contact your eye doctor or emergency room immediately—don’t try to remove it yourself. Even a seemingly light blow to the head can cause a serious eye injury. If a black eye, pain or visual problem occurs after a blow, seek help from your vision professional or go to the emergency room.

An added bonus of filling your summer with outdoor activities is the exercise you’ll get while doing it.  Good physical and mental health contributes to good eye health. 

Are you looking for more opportunities to spend time outside this summer?  Visit the Council’s Recreation and Outdoors page at http://tinyurl.com/recreation-outdoors to find activities near you.

To learn more about protecting your eyes, visit these helpful websites:

www.preventblindness.org, www.allaboutvision.com, and www.geteyesmart.org.