Eye safety tips for outdoor athletes

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(NC) With warmer weather on the horizon, many of us will be heading outside to explore all that the great outdoors has to offer. Soon, more of us will start walking or biking to work and participating in family hikes on the weekends. Many will also start to practice physical activities or sports outdoors.

However, there are many precautions to keep in mind regarding eye health and safety. The Canadian Ophthalmological Society recommends that you:

Use protective eyewear: Ninety per cent of sports-related eye injuries can be avoided with the use of protective eyewear. This includes wearing safety glasses, goggles, safety shields, and eye guards.

Wear sunglasses: Tennis, soccer and baseball enthusiasts practicing in the warm sunlight need to be aware that prolonged exposure to sunlight can increase the risk of getting an eye disease like cataract. To help inform Canadians on the risk of Ultraviolet Radiation (UVR) exposure, COS teamed up with the Canadian Dermatology Society to launch The Sunglass Project. The stakes of UVR damage are high but the solution is simple: protect your eyes. Wear prescription eyeglasses with 100% UVR-protective lenses, a wide-brimmed hat, and stay out of the sun during peak sunlight hours.

Keep dry eye at bay: Weather that’s hot, dry or windy can irritate a common condition called dry eye. This kind of environment affects the tear film, drying out the eye’s surface. To protect your eyes in these conditions, wear wrap-around glasses to keep wind from your eye’s surface. Also, use artificial tears (preferably those that are preservative free) to keep eyes moist and refreshed during football scrums, lacrosse practices and weeknight jogs in the park.

Prevent “swimmer’s eye” in the pool: Chemicals used in pools to keep the water clean, such as chlorine, can affect the natural tear film that keeps our eyes moist and healthy. The result? Red, gritty-feeling eyes and blurry vision. Backstroke experts can keep eyes feeling and looking good by wearing swim goggles in the pool. Splash your closed eyes with fresh water immediately after getting out of the pool.

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