Protecting Eyes and Ears in Summer

Protecting Eyes and Ears in Summer

Summertime Safety: Protecting Your Eyes and Ears for a Fun-Filled Season

by [Your Name]



With summer in full swing, we eagerly indulge in outdoor activities, vacations, and family trips. However, we must also be mindful of the potential safety risks associated with some popular summer pastimes, particularly when it comes to protecting our eyes and ears. This article mingles humorous anecdotes and expert insights to shed light on the importance of safeguarding these vital senses, ensuring a safe and enjoyable season for all.

The Dangers of Swimming with Contact Lenses


Dr. Usiwoma Abugo, an ophthalmologist based in Norfolk, VA, and a spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology, shares a cautionary tale about a young girl named Linda. Linda, who relied on contact lenses for her vision, came to Dr. Abugo with a painful and red right eye that worsened when exposed to sunlight. This peculiar condition turned out to be a corneal ulcer caused by swimming with her contact lenses. Abugo emphasizes the danger of bacteria growth on lenses and the potential for serious infections. To prevent such injuries, she recommends wearing prescription goggles instead, if affordable.

Care for Your Eyes in Summertime

A study published in the Ophthalmic Epidemiology journal revealed interesting trends in internet searches related to eye symptoms. The research team analyzed Google Trends data and identified a rise in searches for redness, dryness, pinkeye, and pain. Seasonal patterns were observed, with redness peaking in spring, likely due to allergies. Interestingly, searches for eye pain were highest during summertime, suggesting a link to eye trauma. Fireworks are a common culprit, often leading to eye injuries. Dr. Abugo advises leaving the fireworks handling to professionals and wearing eye protection when in their presence. Additionally, wearing sunglasses that provide 100% UV protection is crucial to prevent eye problems, such as cataracts or growth in the eyes. Sunlight reflecting off water, sand, ice, or snow can burn the surface of the eye, causing pain, redness, blurriness, and even temporary vision loss.

It’s important to wear proper protective eyewear during activities like sports, gardening, or repair work. Surprisingly, more than half of all eye injuries occur at home, where people tend to neglect eye protection, even when it is warranted.

Protecting Children’s Eyes

Children under the age of 18 are particularly vulnerable to eye injuries. Fireworks pose a significant risk, accounting for a considerable number of accidents. All-terrain vehicles (ATVs) are another culprit, with children under 16 representing more than 30% of ATV-related injury hospitalizations. These injuries can range from eyelid cuts to permanent blindness. Dr. Abugo emphasizes the importance of wearing protective eyewear and helmets, particularly for children. Addressing a common misconception, she advises that all children, regardless of age, should wear UV-protected sunglasses, sunscreen, and hats whenever they are outdoors.

The Summer Soundscape and Your Ears

Music Festival

Summer is known for its vibrant music festivals and concerts, but these events also bring potential risks to our hearing. Dr. Jennifer Schumacher, an audiologist and manager of medical communications, highlights the dangers of prolonged exposure to loud music, which can result in noise-induced hearing loss. While foam earplugs are accessible and provide some level of protection, they may distort the sound and hinder the overall music experience. Thus, Dr. Schumacher recommends investing in custom-made earplugs that reduce volume without compromising the sound quality.

Caring for Your Ears in Water and Air


Swimming poses unique risks to the ears, primarily swimmer’s ear, a bacterial or fungal infection in the ear canal. Surfer’s ear is a less common condition caused by prolonged exposure to cold water that results in bony growth in the ear canal. Over-the-counter earplugs designed for swimming can provide some protection, but for those more susceptible to infections or frequent swimmers, custom-made earplugs are recommended. These customized earplugs differ from noise reduction earplugs as their focus is on protecting the ears during water exposure.

Air travel, especially during takeoff and landing, can cause discomfort due to changes in altitude. Schumacher suggests jaw movements, such as yawning or swallowing, to equalize the pressure. If these methods fail, special earplugs called EarPlanes can help relieve the discomfort. In extreme cases, consulting a doctor for additional solutions, such as nasal sprays or medications, may be necessary. Similarly, during deep-sea or scuba diving, individuals can suffer from ear barotrauma caused by pressure changes. To avoid such damage, it’s crucial to consult experienced instructors who can guide divers on how to protect themselves.


Summertime offers a wealth of activities and experiences, but it’s essential to prioritize the safety of our eyes and ears. Simple precautions, such as not swimming with contact lenses, wearing protective eyewear, and using earplugs, can help prevent potentially severe injuries. By taking care of our senses, we can ensure a season filled with delightful memories, free from long-term damage. So, as you embark on your summer adventures, remember to protect your eyes and ears, and have a fabulous and safe summer!