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Health Matters

Keeping Your Eyes Safe This Summer

May 1st, 2015

Submitted by the Alberta Association of Optometrists

Now that winter has come and gone and the snow has melted away, we can finally enjoy spending more time outside playing summer sports, swimming and relaxing in the sun. While we do our best to enjoy our favourite summer activities safely, many of us neglect to take proper care of our eyes, putting us at risk of developing serious vision problems.

“By now, most people are aware of the damaging effects of UV radiation, and are pretty good about protecting their eyes from the sun,” says Dr. Wes Prince of Millcreek Optometry Centre in Edmonton. “It’s important that we’re also mindful of other potential eye health risks that show up in the summer.”

Doctors of Optometry are noticing an increase in preventable eye problems at this time of year. As primary eye health care providers, they often provide treatment for patients who have been overexposed to pool chemicals, or have a foreign object in their eye.

Dr. Prince has four eye safety tips to help your children play safe this summer.

  1. Beware of strong smelling chlorinated pools and hot-tubs. Over-chlorinated water can become acidic and can cause vision problems, including a burning sensation in your eyes.

  2. Wash your face with soap after swimming to reduce the chance of getting an eye infection. If you have an eye infection, stay out of the pool or hot-tub until you get treatment and are fully recovered.

  3. Wear close-fitting sunglasses that protect both the skin around the eye, as well as the eye itself, and block 100 per cent of UVA and UVB rays.

  4. Do not to rub or apply pressure if an object gets into the eye. Start by washing your hands and the eye area with lukewarm water. If you can see a small particle in the upper or lower lid of the eye try to flush it out by cupping water in your hand and rinsing the eye. If the object cannot be flushed out, see your Doctor of Optometry.

If someone in your family suffers an eye injury or has an eye infection, you can avoid long waits in the emergency room by going straight to your Doctor of Optometry. These visits are considered to be medically necessary and are covered by Alberta Health Care. Ask your Doctor of Optometry if your situation is covered before you go into the exam room.

For more information, or to find a Doctor of Optometry near you, visit

Tags: advice, health, Safety

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