As we move into July, Canada Day weekend celebrations are upon us. Cottage season is well underway, and with good weather comes lots of opportunities to relax and enjoy the great outdoors. But when things go wrong, there can be serious damage - especially to your eyes. We’ve compiled a list of ways to protect your eyes so you can keep enjoying your favourite summer activities for years to come.
UV Rays: Invest in a good pair of sunglasses with 100% UVA and UVB protection. The sun can cause cumulative and sometimes irreversible damage to your eyes. UV exposure can speed up corneal degeneration and the development of cataracts and growths on the eyes, not to mention sunburn!
Sports: Many of your favourite summer sports can also be risky for your eyes. Along with wearing UV protection, we recommend that you protect your eyes from flying objects from fishing, playing badminton, horseshoes, wind and sand. Wear snug-fitting, wraparound style goggles that will keep you completely protected.
Alcohol: Beware of broken glass and wild champagne corks! Alcohol and other substance impairment can significantly increase the risk of injury.
Fireworks: The month surrounding Canada Day (June 20-July 20) is the busiest season for fireworks. While we recommend that you view fireworks at shows handled by professionals, if you choose to enjoy consumer fireworks, remember: they are not toys. Do not let children operate fireworks, and an adult must supervise anyone under 18 using fireworks. Sparklers are most associated with fireworks-related injuries in children under five.
Burns and eye injuries are the most common risks of fireworks, and Injuries almost always result from improper handling and disregard to safety. Before buying fireworks, Natural Resources Canada’s website recommends that you:
Plan the order of fireworks before you begin. Use a good firing base such as a pail filled with earth or sand. Only ever light one firework at a time.
Keep a safe distance. Choose a wide, clear site away from all obstacles. Refer to the safety instructions on the fireworks label for minimum distances from spectators. Never try to light a firework or hold a lit firework in your hand unless the manufacturer’s instructions indicate that they are designed to be hand-held. Always light the fuse at its tip. Wait at least 30 minutes before approaching a firework that didn’t go off. Never try to relight a firework that didn’t go off or try to fix a defective firework.
Be prepared to put out and dispose of used fireworks (including debris) with a pail of water. Do not smoke near fireworks or use them when impaired.
Wear protection. We recommend using safety goggles and gloves when operating fireworks. Make sure you make the most of your favourite summer activities safely. Talk to your local doctor of optometry about the right summer eye safety solution for you.