Summertime! Time for sun, outdoor fun, fireworks, yard work, and home improvement projects. But without proper eye care and protection, summer can also be a season of eye damage and injuries.

The use of good quality sunglasses, safety glasses, tight-fitting goggles or a facemask all help ensure that your summer fun and projects don't end in disaster. Goggles should also be used when working with household chemicals, such as cleaning solutions, pool chemicals or garden sprays, many of which can burn the eyes' delicate tissues.

We are far more aware of the damage the sun can do to our skin than to our eyes. UV rays are present year-round but are strongest during the summer months. They can damage both the eye's surface and the interior of your eyes, such as the retina. They contribute to the development of cataracts and the progression of age-related macular degeneration, as well as skin cancers, and photokeratitis (sunburn of the eye). If you don't protect your eyes from UV light, the damage they suffer can lead to blindness. UV rays are also reflected off surfaces such as snow, sand and water so fishing, boating or visitors to the beach also face an increased risk.

Protection is important for people of all ages - even babies. It should be just as important as putting on a hat and sun block!

The best way to protect your eyes is to get a good pair of sunglasses. Lenses are as important as the frames you choose and should be free of distortion. Most manufacturers label their products, stating their protective ability. Don't be deceived by the colour or cost of sunglasses. The darkest lenses do not necessarily give the best protection. Only an invisible UV protective coat, applied during the manufacturing stage or built into the lens can accomplish this. If you spend a lot of time in the sun, buy wrap-around glasses to prevent the sun from entering your eyes from the sides.

Since clouds aren't effective UV filters, wear your sunglasses on cloudy days too, particularly if you have light eyes, which are more susceptible. Wear your sunglasses winter, spring, summer and fall.

UV protection is available for sunglasses and clear prescription glasses, but did you also know that some contact lenses provide UV protection as well? Ask Dr. Kelly Gallagher, Dr. Sandra Ho, or Dr. Karen Smith about what is right for you!

Sunglasses aren't just for fashion; they're your first line of defence in keeping your eyes safe from the sun. Protect your eyes by protecting them from the sun. Make it a habit- sunscreen for your skin; proper sunglasses for your eyes! 

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