4 Summer Safety Tips for Your Vision in 2020

The sun is bright. The weather is hot. That means it’s time to spend time outside with friends and family, enjoying summer activities like swimming and sports. To help you keep your eyes protected during all the fun, we’ve compiled a list of our four favorite summer safety tips for your vision in 2024.Shocked young girl in sunglasses posing at the beach

We’ll look at:

  1. Avoiding UV radiation
  2. Investing in a pair of prescription sunglasses
  3. Practicing sports eye safety
  4. Removing your contacts before jumping in the pool

1. Avoid UV Radiation

The biggest danger to your vision during the summer is UV radiation. This comes in the form of ultraviolet radiation from the sun or from artificial light. UV radiation comes in two main types: UV-A and UV-B rays. UV-C radiation also exists. However, our atmosphere does such a great job of blocking it that it poses no real threat to us.

UV-A and UV-B radiation do make it through, though most UV-B rays are blocked by the Earth’s atmosphere. Those that do cause problems such as snow blindness and many skin issues.  

UV-A rays penetrate our atmosphere easily and cause:

  • Skin damage
  • Eye damage
  • Premature aging
  • Skin cancer
  • Weakened immune systems

While we can feel the sun’s heat, we can’t feel UV-A and UV-B radiation on our skin. This is why it’s so important to protect yourself even if you don’t think you’re in danger.

You can protect your vision from UV damage the same way you would your skin. You can start by avoiding the sun between 10 am and 4 pm. This may change depending on how close or far you are from the equator. With that said, it’s a good rule of thumb for everyone.

You should also wear a wide-brimmed hat outside, even on cloudy or overcast days. This will protect your eyes from issues such as cataracts and macular degeneration. 

2. Invest in a Pair of Prescription Sunglasses

One of the best safety tips we can offer is to invest in a quality pair of prescription sunglasses. Sunglasses are more than a fashion statement—they’re essential for you to see clearly when the sun is out while protecting your vision.

Choosing a pair of prescription sunglasses is about more than the color or the shape. Finding the perfect pair for you requires some legwork. However, the result is a pair that offers maximum protection while lasting years to come.

The first thing to look for in a pair of prescription sunglasses is UV-blocking. Look for a pair that blocks 99 – 100% of both UV-A and UV-B radiation. A rating of UV400 or higher is also good since it means the same thing. Whichever you choose, you can rest easy knowing that you’re safe from UV rays damaging your vision.

You should also choose a pair that fits correctly. Not only should they fit comfortably and securely, but they should also fit close to your face. This protects you from rays that may slip your face and frames, providing 360° protection!

Last but not least are high-quality lenses. Choose prescription sunglasses that are free of imperfections in the lenses or tinting. Opt for polarized lenses that reduce glare reflected from surfaces like water or snow.

3. Practice Sports Eye Safetysport goggles on a blue pad

You already know the dangers of UV radiation and the importance of sunglasses. Now you need to consider the threat of eye injuries while enjoying your summer. This is especially true when playing sports. 

There are almost 30,000 eye injuries related to sports each year. Fortunately, injuries can be easily prevented by wearing the right protective eyewear. The risk of eye injury will vary from sport to sport, but the sports with the highest risk break down like this:

  1. Basketball
  2. Baseball
  3. Softball
  4. Airsoft
  5. Pellet guns
  6. Racquetball
  7. Hockey

To protect your eyes while playing summer sports, you’ll need more than a standard pair of sunglasses. You’ll want to invest in sports sunglasses or goggles with polycarbonate lenses

Polycarbonate lenses are strongly recommended for physically active people. Made of impact-resistant material, they’re less likely to shatter and injure your eye. 

4. Take Out Your Contacts Before Jumping in the Pool

​​Swimming with contacts can pose a serious threat to your vision due to chloramine. It’s a mixture of:

  • Sweat
  • Urine
  • Dirt
  • Chlorine 

This can be especially dangerous if you wear contacts while swimming in pools. Soft contacts are designed to be absorbent and breathable so that oxygen can get into the eye. They can also absorb other substances, like chloramine, resulting in serious eye infections.

To protect your eyes from infection while swimming, you should:

  • Take out your contacts before swimming
  • Wear water-tight, protective goggles while swimming
  • Rinse your eyes out immediately when you get out of the pool

Do you need prescription sunglasses or sports goggles in Knoxville, TN? Contact us to schedule an appointment!


Natural and artificial UV radiation poses a significant threat to your vision. This is especially true during summer. UV-A and UV-B rays can cause skin and eye damage. They also increase your risk of cataracts and macular degeneration. Protect your eyes by wearing UV-blocking prescription sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat. You should also wear sports goggles when playing sports. Remove contacts before swimming to avoid infections.

Hardin Valley Eyecare & Optical has been serving Knoxville since 2009. Located at 10904 Spring Bluff Way, you can schedule an appointment online or call us at (865) 888-0892.

Editor’s Note: This blog has been updated since it was last updated in August 2021

Medically Reviewed By:

Dr. Thompson was born and raised in Knoxville, TN. His family has lived in the Hardin Valley area since 1998, and he graduated from Karns High School in 2004. Dr. Thompson runs Hardin Valley Eyecare & Optical alongside his wife, Dr. Catherine Abbott.

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"Dr. Thompson is super professional, and has some of the best 'bedside manner' that I have ever witnessed from any doctor. His staff was very helpful in assisting me with picking out regular frames and sunglasses. I’d happily recommend Dr. Thompson to anyone looking for a eye doctor."
Cody C.