Summer Eyecare Tips
By Thomas P. Finley, OD
Dr. Finley's Family Eyecare
Summer Eyecare Tips
The sights and sounds of a fireworks display are a traditional part of a 4th of July celebration. Unfortunately, fireworks can also lead to another annual tradition a trip to the emergency room. Approximately 6,400 Americans are treated annually for fireworks-related injuries during the 4th of July holiday period. And, of those, almost 1,300 are treated for injuries to the eye.
Every year, as many as 400 Americans lose sight in one or both eyes due to fireworks. We strongly encourage people to attend only authorized public fireworks displays conducted by licensed operators. Responsible adult supervision is essential for all handling of fireworks. Other eye-opening facts about fireworks-related eye injuries include
Children under 16 account for 60% of fireworks-related eye injuries.
Almost half of fireworks injuries happen to bystanders. I was personally with a friend in my teens when she lost her eye to an “ash can” fireworks prank.
The fireworks that cause the most injuries are bottle rockets, firecrackers and sparklers.
In a study done in the United Kingdom, over 50% of eye injuries from fireworks resulted in an eye that was legally blind (less than 20/200 vision).
Protection Against the Sun
Bright sunlight causes us to squint which can strain our eyes, but the truly harmful effects of the sun may not show themselves for years. Quality sunglasses prevent dangerous ultraviolet rays from the sun from damaging our eyes. Long-term exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays can cause the early formation of cataracts, skin cancers around the eyes, and macular degeneration.
Eyeglass wearers should have photochromic lenses that darken when they go outdoors, sunglass “clip-ons” to put over their clear glasses, or a second pair of prescription sunglasses. Everyone else should have a good quality pair of sunglasses to wear and protect their eyes. This is especially important for children who spend significantly more time outdoors during the summer months exposed to harmful UV rays. Baseball hats can also shield your eyes from harmful rays.
Additional Protection Against Injuries
With the warmer weather comes an increase in outdoor activities sports, yard work, and just being outside having fun. Sports that involve bats, racquets and fast moving objects rank especially high on the eye injury list. Sports like baseball, softball, tennis, basketball, paint ball, and golf can all cause very serious sight threatening damage to ones eyes. Proper protection with impact resistant polycarbonate lens material is essential. Also, yard work, like mowing the grass or weed whacking, can cause a projectile shot of a rock or stone at such a high velocity that it will cause severe injury to your eye. Make certain to wear protective goggles and that your sunglasses have impact resistant lenses.
Enjoy the summer, but make certain to take care of and protect your eyes and vision. The precautions you take today can protect your eyes and vision for your lifetime.
Other Articles You May Find of Interest...