Spring is a great time of year  – with the flowers blooming and the school year ending – and many of us spend the season getting ourselves “in shape” for summer. Nothing wrong with that. But when you are thinking about what the pool water will do to your hair, and about getting fit to look good in your swimsuit, and about protecting your skin, don’t forget your eyes.

Here’s how to make sure your eyes are as ready for summer, looking just as good, and are as protected as the rest of your body:

Get sunglasses with complete UV protection.

Your eyes need to be protected from UVA and UVB rays which not only come from the sun, but can also cause damage when they are reflected off of water or sand. Too much exposure to UV rays can cause photokeratitis or photo conjunctivitis (more commonly known as “snow blindness”). Try explaining that at the 4th of July cookout.

Speaking of the 4th of July.

if you are the one setting off fireworks make sure you wear protective eye wear and follow all the safety rules. Accidents can happen.

Wear goggles when you swim.

Yes, that pool feels great. But the chlorine that keeps the water sparkling can damage your eyes over time.

Other protective eyewear.

If you are mowing the lawn, playing on a summer baseball league, or even trimming the weeds, make sure you wear the correct protective eyewear.

Don a hat.

Even if you wear sunglasses all the time, they usually have gaps along the sides where UVR exposure occurs. Your eyelids are thin and sensitive and can burn easily.

Drink more water.

During the summer you are more likely to become dehydrated. Serious dehydration makes it harder for the body to produce tears, which can lead to dry eye symptoms and other vision problems. Drinking plenty of water each day also provides fluid for normal eye function.

Address your allergies.

Spring and summer (and fall) bring lots of growing things that are shooting pollen into the air. They may cause your eyes may water or feel dry and itchy. Make an appointment with Dr. Emmert-Buck to make sure you have the right tools to address this problem and keep your from rubbing your eyes, which can cause further damage.

Get enough sleep.

It’s tempting to take advantage of every sunny moment instead of getting adequate rest. But skimping on sleep night after night can affect your visual acuity – which you need for important things like driving and taking care of your children. Also, when you are tired your eyes are more likely to feel dry, which may make you rub them more, which may expose your eyes to irritants or disease.

Make Sure Your Prescription Is Up To Date

Are you wearing prescription sunglasses? Schedule your appointment now to make sure they are up to date or to discuss your vision options. Maybe you can ditch that prescription. That’s like losing five pounds, right?