Summer Eye Safety: What Ophthalmologists Want You to Know

Push lawnmower being used to cut grass during summer

Summertime means fun in the sun. Unfortunately, it can also mean damage to your vision and overallThe sun in the sky on a cloudless day eye health if you’re not careful. At Baptist Eye Surgeons, we want you to enjoy the warm weather as much as possible. We’ve written this blog to help you implement summer eye safety.

We’ll look at:

  • Statistics about UV rays and your vision
  • Protecting your vision during summer yard work
  • How to choose a good pair of prescription sunglasses
  • How UV rays can damage your eyes and vision

Statistics about UV Rays & Your Vision

Many people are in the dark about how the summer sun can affect their eye health. This causes them to put their vision in danger despite the harsh realities of how it can affect their sight. 

The American Academy of Ophthalmology wants to drive the point home. Check out these summer eye safety statistics to understand why taking proper precautions is of the utmost importance.

  • 53% of people believe that darker sunglass lenses mean more protection from UV rays
  • 47% of sunglasses buyers don’t check the UV rating before purchasing
  • Only 32% of parents make their kids wear UV-blocking sunglasses
  • Certain medications and medical conditions put you at greater risk of UV damage

Overexposure to the sun increases your risk of:

    • Sunburned eyes
    • Eye cancer
    • Growths near or on the eye
    • Cataracts

Knowing the threat UV radiation poses to your eyes can be an important factor in summer eye safety. By knowing how detrimental the threat is, you will be more motivated to take the right steps to protect your vision.

Learn more about summer sun safety and how you can protect your vision.

Summer Eye Safety

Protecting Your Vision During Summer Yard Work

The sun’s rays aren’t the only threat to your vision and eye health during the summer. Warmer weather means more time for yard work, for better or worse. Like wearing sunglasses protects your vision from the sun’s rays, wearing the right eye protection when doing outdoor yard work will ensure that you avoid an eye injury.

According to the University of Alabama at Birmingham, yard equipment and power tools are two of the most common causes of eye injuries. That’s why it’s important to wear more than glasses or sunglasses when doing chores. Instead, opt for ANSI Z87.1-compliant safety goggles. They’re strong enough to even protect your eyes from high-velocity debris.

The same is true for wearing contact lenses during summer yard work and other chores. Airborne debris and dust can get stuck under the lens, resulting in:

  • Irritation
  • Abrasion
  • Infection

Dust and other particles in your eye put you at a higher risk of infection. To learn more about eye infections and what you can do about them, check out a video of our very own Dr. Sweet explaining your options below.


If a small object gets in your eye, rinse it with cold water. Make sure to remove your contact lens first. Contact your Knoxville eye specialist if you still experience redness and irritation after 24 hours. 

Symptoms such as severe pain, bleeding, and blurred vision may indicate that the eye has been penetrated. In these extreme cases, seek emergency treatment then contact your eye doctor.

Learn more about the importance of safety glasses during yard work.

How to Choose a Good Pair of Prescription Sunglasses

UV radiation from the sun poses unique challenges to your vision and eye health. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to protect your eyes. The most important of these is wearing a high-quality pair of prescription sunglasses. These shades will help protect your vision and keep your eyes feeling comfortable all year long.

The three most important factors for choosing a pair of prescription shades are:

  • UV protection
  • Fit
  • Lens material

When evaluating for UV protection, look for lenses that have 99 – 100% UVA and UVB protection. This prevents your eyes from being overexposed to the sun’s rays, which can affect the retina and lens of your eyes over time.

Fit plays a major role in how well a pair of sunglasses will protect your eyes. Look for frames that fit your face well. A well-fitting pair of frames should rest close to your face without touching your eyelashes or sticking out. They should also align with your eyebrows.

Lens material is based on individual preferences and lifestyles. For instance, glass lenses are ideal if you want the highest levels of clarity and scratch resistance. However, plastic lenses are more lightweight and durable than glass varieties. Polycarbonate lenses are much stronger than glass or plastic lenses, making them ideal for those who lead physically active lives.

Learn how to choose sunglasses that suit every lifestyle.

How UV Rays Can Damage Your Eyes and VisionSunglasses being held on a beach showing the difference they make in eye comfort.

UV rays can damage your eyes in several ways. Their effects aren’t limited to the summertime since the sun acts as a year-round threat to your eye health. Failure to wear UV-blocking sunglasses can increase your risk of:

  • Photokeratitis
  • Pinguecula
  • Macular degeneration

Also known as corneal sunburn, photokeratitis occurs when your eyeball tissue becomes inflamed. This tissue is extremely sensitive and the condition can set in within just a few hours of UV exposure. A sunburn on the eye can occur during winter as well. Commonly known as snow blindness, it’s important to wear UV eye protection even when you think there is no threat.

Learn more ways UV rays damage your eyes & vision.

Pinguecula is a raised growth on the surface of the eyeballs or eyelid (conjunctiva). They can appear as yellow or white bumps on the surface of your eye. These growths are most common in dusty or sandy areas, such as beaches. Fortunately, they are easily treatable with eye drops.

Macular degeneration affects the macula, which is part of the retina. It helps turn the light that enters the eye into the images that we see. UV rays can contribute to the degeneration of the macula over time, resulting in the loss of central vision. This can cause your vision to appear blurry when looking directly at an object.

Do you need help protecting your vision this summer? Contact us today to schedule an appointment!

Most people are under the impression that darker lenses are enough to protect their eyes from the sun’s rays. On top of UV radiation, summer yard work also poses a threat to your eye health. Wearing the right eye protection is key in both situations. Choose a high-quality pair of sunglasses to protect your eyes from the sun and sturdy safety goggles for yard work.

Baptist Eye Surgeons is an ophthalmological practice in Knoxville, TN, and Morristown, TN. Give us a call at 865-579-3920 for more information or to schedule an appointment.

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