By Melissa Leniuk, Doctor of Optometry
It’s summer! That means lots of swimming pools, sunshine and playing in the great outdoors. While we do our best to enjoy our favourite summer activities safely, sometimes accidents happen. Here are four tips to help keep your kids’ eyes safe this summer:
- Beware of strong smelling chlorinated pools and hot-tubs. Over-chlorinated water can become acidic and can cause vision problems. Children may feel a burning sensation in their eyes.
- Wash their faces with soap after swimming. This will reduce the risk of picking up an eye infection. If your child is the one with the infection, keep them out of the pool or hot-tub until they get treatment and are fully recovered.
- Make sure they have close-fitting sunglasses. Sunglasses should protect both the skin around the eye, as well as the eye itself, and block 100 per cent of UVA and UVB rays.
- If they get something in their eye, try to stop them from rubbing. Start by washing your hands and the eye area with lukewarm water. If you can see a small particle in the upper or lower lid of the eye try to flush it out by cupping water in your hand and rinsing the eye. If the object cannot be flushed out, see your Doctor of Optometry.
If an accident happens, or someone in your family has an eye infection, you don’t have to wait in an emergency room or family doctor’s office. A lot of people don’t realize that you can go straight to a Doctor of Optometry for treatment, and it’s covered by Alberta Health Care. We often see patients who have been overexposed to pool chemicals or have a foreign object in their eye. You don’t need a referral, and most optometrists will see you right away.
It’s also important to schedule regular comprehensive eye exams for you and your children. Eye exams do a lot more than test your sight, they are also an important part of your overall health. We often detect hidden eye diseases and conditions that can be easily treated if caught early. Alberta Health Care covers the cost of annual eye exams for children under the age of 19.
To find a Doctor of Optometry near you, visit http://www.optometrists.ab.ca/find-an-optometrist.