Surge in Avoidable Summertime Eye Injuries Call for Doctors to Send Out Warnings

Common hazards go unrecognized until problems occur sending more folks to emergency rooms this time of year

PHILADELPHIA, June 27, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Now that summer is officially here, plenty of us are spending our down time enjoying fresh air, sunshine, a dip in the pool, ocean or about to relax over the upcoming long holiday weekend with friends, but ophthalmologists at Wills Eye Institute in Philadelphia are reminding everyone this year to protect their eyes from common hazards that are not always that obvious to remember. From skin cancers to increasing your chances of getting cataracts, summer months can be especially dangerous to our eyes.

Doctors say be aware: damaging eye injuries are more common this time of the year because of increased time spent outside involved in activities which can result in decreased or permanent vision loss. "We are frequently reminded to protect our bodies from the sun and injuries, but too often the eyes are neglected," said Ann Murchison, MD, MPH, of Wills Eye Hospital and Co-Director of the Emergency Department. "Each summer we routinely see an uptick in the ER of burns, lacerations, irritations and other sight threatening injuries which are preventable. Simple precautionary measures including wearing protective eye gear for yard work, sports, or while in the sun will minimize your chances for eye injuries and problems." Dr. Murchison added.

Here's a list of important safety eye tips to remember:

  • Use the essential combination of wearing sunscreen, UVA/UVB sunglasses and a brimmed hat to protect your eyes from sunlight, even on cloudy days. Remember that advice especially when boating, biking, being on the beach, or at amusement parks. Skin cancers are common in and around the eyes and prolonged sun exposure to your eyes may increase your chances of getting cataracts.
  • When doing any home improvement project, yard work, or playing sports, wear appropriate protective eyewear to minimize exposure to small flying objects like rocks when mowing the lawn or weed whacking.
  • When celebrating 4th of July, avoid handling fireworks of any kind, enjoy them from a distance and leave it to the professionals.
  • Remember to drink plenty of water during these hot summer days. What's good for your body also has a direct benefit to your eyes as well.
  • Contact lenses: Consider changing to daily disposable lenses to eliminate the need for cleaning and disinfecting solutions and minimize the chance for infection or irritations. Lake or pond water can get underneath the contact lens and start an infection. When swimming with contact lenses, wear goggles too. Don't sleep in lenses and always remember to have a back- up pair of glasses.
  • If you have eye allergies, first check with your doctor, but consider starting with over-the-counter antihistamine drops to soothe your itchy eyes. Artificial tears and cool compresses are also often helpful.
  • Your vision matters – if an eye injury does occur, do not delay in seeking care.

If you are interested in doing this story, Wills Eye Institute physicians are available for interviews, as is a patient who can share first- hand experience of lessons learned.

About Wills Eye Institute

Wills Eye Institute is a global leader in ophthalmology, established in 1832 as the nation's first hospital specializing in eye care. U.S. News & World Report has consistently ranked Wills Eye as one of America's top three ophthalmology centers since the survey began in 1990. Wills Eye is a premier training site for all levels of medical education. Its resident and post-graduate training programs are among the most competitive in the country. One of the core strengths of Wills is the close connection between innovative research and advanced patient care. Wills provides the full range of primary and subspecialty eye care for improving and preserving sight, including cataract, cornea, retina, emergency care, glaucoma, neuro-ophthalmology, ocular oncology, oculoplastics, pathology, pediatric ophthalmology and ocular genetics, and refractive surgery. Ocular Services include the Wills Laser Correction Center, Low Vision Service, and Diagnostic Center. Its 24/7 Emergency Service is the only one of its kind in the region. Wills Eye also has a network of nine multi-specialty, ambulatory surgery centers throughout the tri-state area. To learn more, please visit


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