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After what has felt like a brutally LONG winter, summer is finally almost upon us and with summer comes a fabulous array of outdoor events, festivals and concerts. As we come out of hiding, we must take care to ensure we are protecting ourselves from the sun, and that doesn’t just mean with sunscreen – it is imperative that we are taking the proper steps to protect our eyes from the sun as well.

Why is it so important to protect your eyes from the sun? Did you know that exposure to UV Rays is linked to eye diseases such as cataracts, macular degeneration and can also cause damage to the cornea and retina.

What are UV Rays?

UVB is what affects our skin in the form of sunburns and blistering. Exposure to UVB Rays is responsible for damage to the corneas and can cause irritation, light sensitivity and watery eyes.

UVA is the most prevalent form of UV rays and it is the ray that penetrates our skin (and eyes) more deeply. UVA is responsible for damage to the inner layers of our skin and eyes and makes up the majority of UV that reaches the earth.

Top 5 Tips for Surviving Festival Season

  1. Always wear sunglasses.  Even when you look outside and think that it is a bit too overcast for sunglasses, put them on! Sunglasses aren’t just about reducing glare and improving your vision. Sunglasses are the sunscreen for your eyes! We are more likely to remember our sunglasses on bright days, but always keep a backup pair nearby because it is important to protect your eyes even when there is overcast!
  2. Quality of sunglasses matters.  Look for sunglasses that are marked as being 100% UV protection which is also known as UV400 protection. This important measurement means that the lenses are blocking the full spectrum of UVA and UVB rays. Ensure you are buying your sunglasses from reputable retailer to avoid fakes and to ensure quality. It is also important to pay attention to the style of lenses you are wearing – for example, wrap-around sunglass styles are a popular choice because they are helpful in protecting your peripheral vision.
  3. Wear a hat.  We are huge advocates for sunglasses but even when you’re wearing those, add a hat to your wardrobe selection! A hat is a fashionable choice that gives added sun protection for your face, head and of course, your eyes!
  4. Try contact lenses with UV built-in.  Are you a contact lens wearer? A few tips for eye safety in contact lenses include trying contact lenses with full UV protection, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have to wear sunglasses! It’s just an added layer of protection for your eyes. It is also important that you don’t swim in contact lenses as they can make your eyes more susceptible to irritation and infection.
  5. Sunscreen safety.  Sunscreen is great for your skin, but not for your eyes. When applying it to your face, make sure to put it around your eyes but be careful to not get any inside as it can irritate and blur your vision. Washing your hands right after applying sunscreen can also help to avoid any accidental exposure to your eyes.

From Art Festivals to Buskers Festivals and from Charity Bike Rides to PGA Golf Championships, Hamilton is THE place to be loving the outdoors this summer! Just remember that wherever you may go this summer that you enjoy the sun with the proper eye protection. Happy Festival Season!