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8 Ways You Could be Damaging Your Vision at the Beach

Published by Auckland Eye on Tuesday, 18 Dec 2018
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1. Not Wearing Sunglasses

In order to protect your long-term eye health and reduce your risk of developing serious eye conditions, we recommend that you do not go to the beach without your sunglasses. Although a day at the beach without sunglasses will lead to a lot of squinting or sunburn of the eye in the short term, doing this regularly can cause serious eye problems in the future that can cause loss of vision, such as macular degeneration, cataracts or growths on the eyes.

 

2. Wearing Cheap Sunglasses

High-quality sunglasses are usually expensive, so why not buy cheap sunglasses that look almost the same? The reason why it is best to invest in your sunglasses is because cheap sunglasses, especially ones with ultra-dark lenses, will likely do more harm than good when it comes to keeping damaging sunlight out of your eyes. Most cheap sunglasses lack the proper UV technology to keep your eyes protected and are optically inferior to those provided by an eye specialist or reputable retailer. Therefore, if you wear cheap dark sunglasses your pupils can dilate — instead of constricting as they as they normally do in the sunlight and thus let in more UV light.

When purchasing sunglasses, it is important to prioritise protection over style and to make sure that the label states that the glasses provide 100 percent UV protection. This will shield your eyes from the sun's harmful UV rays that can cause long-term eye damage.

 

3. Not Wearing Sunglasses When It's Cloudy

No matter the weather, always wear a pair of sunglasses when you are outside. While clouds may take some of the heat away, the UV rays can still cause damage to your skin and eyes on overcast days.

 

4. Thinking a Hat Will Protect Your Eyes

Although hats can provide some protection from the sun to an extent, hats shouldn't be solely relied upon as the only source of protection for your eyes. Hats can only provide protection from the rays from above, which means your eyes are not fully protected from sun rays that are reflected by the water upwards to your face. Even sand can reflect sun rays. So while it is still important to wear a hat outdoors to keep the sun off your neck and face, don't forget to wear sunglasses too!

 

5. Wearing Contacts When You Swim

Swimming with contact lenses should be avoided whenever possible to help prevent bacterial contamination of your eye. Swimming with contacts is dangerous because specks of dirt or sand can get caught between your contact and your pupil. This can result in a corneal scratch, an eye infection, irritation or a potentially sight-threatening condition such as a corneal ulcer.

Therefore, before taking a dip at the beach, protect your eyes by removing your contacts and putting on a pair of swimming goggles.

 

6. Swimming Without Goggles & Opening Your Eyes Underwater

Since no sea water is completely sterile, goggles are a must-have when it comes to swimming in the sea. Exposing the surface of your eyes to seawater can lead to swollen corneas or bacterial and viral infections. Not to mention the pain that comes with salt water stinging your eyes!

 

7. Forgetting to Apply Sunscreen To Your Eye Area

Due to the fact that the skin around the eyes is the thinnest on the face, it is an area of the body that is the most susceptible to sun damage. According to The Skin Cancer Foundation, 10 percent of all skin cancers are found on the eyelid. For this reason, applying sunscreen around the eye is extremely important before going out in the sun.

When selecting a sunscreen, make sure you select one that is made specifically for the face or eye that contains a minimum of SPF 30. Mineral formulas, made with zinc or titanium dioxide are a good choice, as they are made for sensitive skin and won't sting your eyes while swimming.

 

8. Rubbing Your Eyes When You Get Sand Stuck in Your Eyes

Getting sand in your eye can cause a corneal abrasion (a scratch on the clear, protective outer layer of the eye) and rubbing it can cause further damage. If this happens to you, flush your eye copiously with water right away and blink several times. If you normally wear contact lenses, remove your contact lens and leave it out. After rinsing your eye with water, if your eye is still feeling irritated after a couple of hours have passed, we recommend you visit an eye doctor. If left untreated, your eye could become infected which could lead to a corneal ulcer.

 

Categories: Eye Health Tips

Auckland Eye - New Zealand Centre of Excellence for Eye Care