Keep Your Eyes on the Prize: Protection

American Academy of Ophthalmology issues safety tips for summer

FRIDAY, June 23, 2006 (HealthDay News) -- With summer here, the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) is offering some simple safety tips to protect your eyes.

Each year, more than one million eye injuries occur in the United States, 90 percent of which are preventable with safety precautions, according to the AAO.

According to the academy, "excessive exposure to ultraviolet light reflected off sand [and] pavement can temporarily burn the eye surface. Long-term exposure to ultraviolet radiation may lead to age-related macular degeneration and cataracts, both major causes of visual impairment and blindness."

Here are some of the academy's safety suggestions:

  • Wear protective eyewear when using heavy machinery such as lawnmowers.
  • Be sure your sunglasses block at least 99 percent of UV and UV-B rays.
  • Always wear swimming goggles when underwater -- chlorine from pools can irritate the eyes, while bacteria from lakes and ponds can inflame the cornea if the germs settle beneath a contact lens.
  • Instruct children to never look or stare directly at the sun.
  • Children's toys meant for flying can be hazardous to the eyes. Check for pointed edges and make sure the toy is assembled correctly.
  • Do not touch unexploded fireworks and stand at least one-quarter mile away from exploding fireworks.

If you or a family member suffers an eye injury, seek medical help immediately.

More information

For more eye safety tips, visit the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

SOURCE: American Academy of Ophthalmology, news release, June 2006
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