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Protecting Your Eyes at the Beach

woman wearing sunglasses at the beach

Tips to Enjoy This Summer Safely

For many Clevelanders, there’s nothing better than stepping foot off of a plane or ending a long road trip in a warm and sunny destination. After a long Northeast Ohio winter, most of us have to adjust to being outside in strong sunshine. In addition to wearing sunscreen to protect your skin, it’s important not to forget to protect your eyes during your vacation. 

Here are some tips to protect your eyes at the beach—and enjoy your trip to the fullest!


Remember that your eyes can be sunburned.

There is a condition called photokeratitis that affects the corneas. Similar to a sunburn, it is a painful, temporary condition caused by the reflection of sunlight onto the eyes. Prevent photokeratitis by wearing sunglasses to protect your eyes from UVA and UVB rays. Wear them, even on cloudy days—those UV rays are still coming through even if you can’t see the sun. For extra protection, wear a wide-brimmed hat or a visor.

If you wear contact lenses: Pack extras and plan to wear sunglasses at all times outdoors.

If you wear glasses: Before your trip, invest in prescription sunglasses or transition lenses.

Would you rather not deal with juggling contact lenses and multiple pairs of glasses at the beach? Once you have LASIK surgery, you can be free of your dependence on contacts and glasses. Plan your surgery in advance of your trip to leave time for a full recovery before you travel.


Wear protective eyewear while you swim.

While goggles may not be a popular fashion choice, they are one of the smartest. Whether you are swimming in a pool, ocean, or lake, all bodies of water can risk the condition of your eyes. For example, the chlorine used in pools to eliminate germs—for good reason—can also lead to itchy and bloodshot eyes after a long day of swimming and spending time in the pool. 

In a natural body of water like the ocean or a lake, your eyes are exposed to sand, salt, and potential waterborne bacteria. Goggles can provide important protection for your eyes. If you’re a serious recreational swimmer who is reliant on glasses or contact lenses to see clearly, you may consider getting a pair of prescription goggles. Whatever you do, resist the temptation to rub your eyes after you come out of the water.


Know what to do if sand gets in your eye.

Picture this: You’re enjoying the ocean view when a warm breeze kicks up the sand, and you feel a piece of sand in your eye. It’s hard to imagine how such a tiny spec can cause such pain, but it is definitely not a great feeling. If this happens, start by blinking your eyes. This natural act can sometimes get a foreign object out of your eye. If this does not work, try flushing your eye with a saline solution or eye drops or rinsing with clean water. Do not rub your eyes or use your hand or anything else to try to physically remove the sand from your eye. If you cannot find relief, we advise going straight to an urgent care center or emergency room. In a worst-case scenario, if you do not remove the sand, it can scratch your cornea—and it will be very uncomfortable in the meantime.


Are You Ready for LASIK Surgery?

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If you’re traveling to a beach this summer—whether you’re staying close to home at Edgewater Park or Fairport Harbor or you’re traveling south—we hope you have a wonderful time. We are here if you’re ready to explore the benefits of LASIK surgery before your trip. Please reach out to schedule your initial consultation.

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