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Visions of Summer

Summer has arrived, and with it all of the sights, sounds and smells that make it the season of leisure, vacation and relaxation. But with summer comes the responsibility of taking good care of our eyes. Both young and old and everyone in between deserve to see what life has to offer. The following suggestions can help us do just that:

  • Have regular eye exams. Being consistent with this practice not only ensures the health of the eyes, but should any abnormalities be discovered, early detection of age – related eye conditions, such as cataracts, glaucoma and macular degeneration will provide the opportunity for a better outcome.
  • Wear good sunglasses. Good means that they have quality ultraviolet (UV) filters. UV rays can contribute to cataracts and possibly accelerate macular degeneration. The long days of summer expose the eyes to more direct sunlight. Wearing sunglasses with UV filters will also prevent burned corneas. Sunglasses with gray lenses allow objects to be seen in their most natural color.
  • Wear a hat with a brim, especially during extended periods of outdoor activity. Not only do hats shade the eyes, but they also protect the eyelids and the skin surrounding the eyes from developing melanoma.
  • Eat fresh fruits and vegetables. Enjoy summer’s bounty. Vegetables in yellow, orange and dark green are packed with vitamins and minerals essential for both eye and body health. Treat yourself to a refreshing smoothie made with strawberries and blueberries. Or enjoy a spinach salad.
  • Wear protective eyewear. Some of our outdoor summer activities revolve around yard care and home improvement projects, while other activities include swimming and spending time at the beach. Protect your eyes by wearing either safety goggles or swim goggles. Sports goggles are also essential when playing racquetball or squash.
  • Remove contact lenses when eye fatigue sets in. Give your eyes the opportunity to “breathe.” Rinsing your lenses removes unwanted, often microscopic, debris that can cause infection and discomfort. Swimming with contact lenses is not recommended, as chemicals and / or salt will rest under the lenses.

No matter the season, being proactive in caring for your eyes will lead to years of enjoying all the beauty of the earth. Should you have any concerns about your vision, do not delay in contacting your eye care professional. As Benjamin Franklin once said, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

Dr. Steven A. Nielsen is the chief ophthalmologist at The Nielsen Eye Center. To schedule consultations or eye exams with Dr. Nielsen, call 617-401-8542 daily between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m.