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Carolyn Schmitz
06/25/2014 12:35 PM

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, an average of 200 people go to the emergency room every day with fireworks-related injuries during the month surround the July 4th holiday. Of those, 17 percent of July 4th firework hospitalizations involve eye injuries. As Independence Day approaches and plans for festivities begin, many may not realize the eye injury risks they will encounter. The good news is that there are things they can do to protect their eyes during this festive time of the year.

“July is the hottest month of the year and when UV rays are the most damaging. Unfortunately, many people are not efficiently protected against the sun, especially when they plan to spend the entire day outside during Fourth of July events,” explains Dr. Edward Kondrot, founder of the Healing The Eye & Wellness Center and president of the Arizona Homeopathic and Integrative Medical Association. “While UV rays in moderation can be beneficial, laying out in the sun to soak up the rays for a long period of time and going to pool parties without proper protection can do more harm than you might think.”

Here are three tips for protecting your eyes during the Independence Day holiday and help your eyesight in the long run:

Sun Protection. Everyone knows to wear sunglasses in the summer, but make sure you buy the right pair. Polarized sunglasses close to your face or wraparound frames provide the best protection for your eyes. Add a visor or hat for optimal coverage and avoid painful burned corneas from overexposure.

Chemicals. Pools are the perfect solution to blistering heat, but if the water stings your eyes, then it’s time to get out. The chemicals in the pool are unbalanced and while it won’t harm your vision, it can leave your eyes feeling irritated. Also, if you get suntan lotion in your eyes, make sure to wash out your eyes with water immediately.

Fireworks. The Fourth of July is known for fantastic fireworks, but it is important to exercise caution. USA.gov reports that more than half the injuries on the Fourth of July were burns, which can lead to permanent vision damage. If you are going to be handling or near fireworks, always use proper eye protection.

“By buying the right pair of sunglasses and keeping your eyes clean from chemicals, you can protect your eyes,” adds Kondrot. “Taking action now can also save money in the future by avoiding unnecessary surgeries. Now is the time to protect your vision.”

Copyright © 2014 Amador Ledger Dispatch
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