It’s summer in Maine! With hundreds of miles of coastline to enjoy, most of us will take at least a few days to head to the beach, lounge in the sun and play in the surf. Although you probably know how important it is to protect your skin, you also need to plan to keep your eyes safe and healthy at the beach. Before you pack your chair and umbrella and hop in the car, here are a few precautions to take to protect your eyes this summer.

The Right Sunglasses

The sun’s UV rays can pose several risks to your eyes. Photokeratitis, a condition akin to an eye sunburn, can be caused when your eyes have too much exposure to UV rays. UV ray exposure can also contribute to age-related macular degeneration and put you at greater risk for developing cataracts.

An easy way to lower your risk of these eye conditions is to wear sunglasses with the right kind of protection. When you’re purchasing sunglasses, look for a label that indicates 99-100% protection from both UVA and UVB rays. While you’re at it, try to select a pair of sunglasses that offer larger or wider frames to help protect the sensitive skin around your eyes.

If you wear prescription glasses, you should have a pair of sunglasses with your prescription that provides this level of protection. The team at Maine Optometry can help you find the right sunglasses for your prescription, style and summer plans.

Remove Contacts in the Water

If you wear contacts, there are a few more specialized precautions you should take at the beach. First, if you can, pack an old pair of glasses alongside your towel and sandals. Wearing prescription glasses at the beach can help lower the risk that you’ll get sand on or under your contacts, where it can cause injury to your eye.

If you do decide to wear your contacts at the beach, be sure to remove them before diving into the waves. Swimming with contacts puts you at risk for developing a bacterial infection or experiencing general eye irritation. In fact, the CDC even advises that contacts which touch any water be thrown away. So if you need to reuse them, be sure to disinfect them overnight.

When you’re underwater and open up your eyes, it’s easy for your contacts to move around or come out of your eyes. While you should avoid wearing contacts in the water, if you feel you need to it is best to wear goggles that prevent water from getting into your eye and touching or dislodging your contacts.

Be Cautious With Sand

Whether you wear glasses, contacts or are part of the lucky few with perfect vision – one thing everyone needs to be aware of is how to take care of your eyes if you get sand in them. Your first instinct may be to rub your eyes – don’t! Instead, flush your eyes with fresh water. Rubbing your eye can cause more pain or cause the sand to scratch the eye.

Eyes At the Beach other and daughter

We Can Help You Protect Your Eyes This Summer

The doctors at Maine Optometry are here to help you keep your eyes safe and healthy this summer. Whether you need new prescription sunglasses, an annual check-up before you head out on an extended vacation or just have a question for us, we welcome your call. Please reach out any time at (207) 389-3525.