July is recognized as UV Safety Month by the American Academy of Ophthalmology. Black Hills State University alum and Rapid City-based ophthalmologist, Dr. Rebecca Linquist, shares tips to keep your eyes safe this summer.
As friends and family gather to celebrate the 4th of July, Linquist says take care to avoid eye injuries that can be caused by fireworks including burns and damage from explosions too close to the eyes.
Sparklers cause many eye injuries, says Linquist, because the hand-held fireworks that can reach 2000 degrees Fahrenheit are often waved around at eye level. Linquist recommends using safety glasses around all fireworks and practicing other precautions including supervising kids and avoiding alcohol.
Protecting your eyes from UV (ultraviolet) rays from the sun is important throughout the year – both on the sunniest of summer days and off the reflection of snow in the winter.
“Look for 100 percent UV-blocking sunglasses. Studies show long-term exposure to the sun increases cataracts and growths on the eye, even cancer,” says Linquist.
Sunglasses protect your eyes from aging-related changes, but Linquist says cheap sunglasses might not have 100 percent UV-protection. “Name brands are generally more trusted with the protection level,” she says. Wearing hats can also help and Linquist reiterates the age-old wisdom to “never look directly at the sun.”
According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, ophthalmologists are physicians who specialize in medical and surgical eye care. They diagnose and treat all eye diseases. Linquist has worked as an ophthalmologist in Rapid City since 2013.
She says summertime tends to bring more “foreign body” eye issues into her office with patients getting hit in the eye with balls, twigs or rocks injuring the eye during lawn mowing, and allergies causing discomfort.
If you increase the brightness level on your phone when you’re outside, remember to turn it back down. “You can give your eyes a rest from smartphones, computers, and TV by focusing on something in the distance,” says Linquist, suggesting that people take breaks every 20 minutes when using screen technologies.
“Eye injuries are preventable,” says Linquist. “Vision damage from eye conditions like glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy can also be prevented under the care of an eye doctor.”
About Rebecca Linquist, MD
Linquist graduated from BHSU in 2004 with a degree in psychology. She grew up in Sturgis. She completed residency in ophthalmology at the University of Kansas after earning her medical degree. While at BHSU, Linquist served in the National Guard. She was deployed to Bosnia in 2002 and worked with medical evacuation and flight operations.
About BHSU-Rapid City
BHSU-RC is located at 4300 Cheyenne Blvd. on the east side of Rapid City with easy access from I-90. The University is committed to serving veterans, has a large network of alumni living in the region, and has a business program in the top five percent of business schools worldwide. In spring 2018, BHSU-RC debuted a new block schedule providing students a flexible way to take classes.
BHSU offers a master’s degree in business administration and applied management (MBA) and several bachelor’s degrees that can be completed at BHSU-Rapid City. The bachelor’s degrees include: business administration, corporate communications, elementary education, general studies, history, history education, human services, political science, psychology, social science teaching, and sociology. In addition, BHSU-RC offers several associate degrees and certificates that can be completed without leaving Rapid City.
Learn more at www.BHSU.edu/RC