Summer is a season when everyone enjoys spending time out under the sun. All our optometrists at Real Eyes Optometry want to ensure that everyone is having fun and staying safe.
Summer Eye Protection
Wear authentic 100% UV Filtering Sunglasses – Not only do sunglasses make you look cool, but it can protect your eyes from sun damage and prevent conditions such as macular degeneration, cataracts, pterygium and corneal sunburn. Ultraviolet rays can cause sunburn, are also harmful to your eyes. Be sure you select lenses that filter UV rays for you and your family.
Summer Calls For Hats
Sunglasses are definitely the first step in summer eye protection, but there are gaps on the sides of the sunglasses that still allow UV rays in. Combining your sunglasses with a hat provides additional protection from the harsh summer rays and minimizes your exposure. The best hats are those with a wide brim around the entire hat, such as a bucket hat or “boater”. A baseball cap is also a good solution, ideally, the brim is approximately 3 inches wide to provide consistent protection around your eyes. There are also significantly more wide brim hat options available, particularly for women, over the last few years that are both stylish and provide necessary summer protection.
Avoid Rubbing Your Eyes
Even prior to COVID-19, washing your hands and avoiding touching your face and eyes was one of the best ways to protect yourself from communicable diseases — and this still holds true. The simple habit of washing your hands on a regular basis can help avoid contracting eye conditions like conjunctivitis (pink eye).
If you recently had eye surgery, such as LASIK/PRK, you are at increased risk for infection. Heightened cleanliness and avoiding touching your eyes will be vital. This includes putting in, and taking out contacts, applying eye drops, and avoiding touching your eyes in general.
80% of a person’s lifetime UVR exposure occurs prior to the age of 18.
Stay Hydrated – Drinking enough fluids will also help your eyes produce more tears to keep them nice and– The World Health Organization
Summer Eye Protection includes Drinking Plenty of Water
It is easy for us to become dehydrated in the warmer months and this can affect our eyes. With severe dehydration, our body has a more difficult time producing tears which can lead to unpleasant dry eye symptoms that include:
- A stinging, burning or scratchy sensation in your eyes
- Stringy mucus in or around your eyes
- Contact lens discomfort
- Sensitivity to light
- Eye redness
- A sensation of having something in your eyes
- Difficulty with nighttime driving and glare
- Watery eyes (a common symptom)
- Blurred vision, fluctuating clarity or eye fatigue
Drinking plenty of water can prevent and counteract the negative effects of dehydration, and provide adequate moisture for normal eye function.
- Hydrate. Not all liquids are equal, ensure you have lots of water or drinks with salts and electrolytes.
- Limit Spirits. Alcohol can impair your body’s ability to cool itself, so it is best to limit consumption during hot and extreme temperatures.
Use Eye Drops
Even with following all of these tips for summer eye protection, sometimes we need a bit of extra help. Eye drops usually are the first step in dry eye treatment. With plenty of brand options and many available over the counter, meaning you are able to purchase without a prescription, artificial tears are an accessible and easy way to treat dry eye symptoms.
Summer can be a particularly troublesome time if you have allergies, and you may benefit from eye drops. However, given there is a range of formulas, some of which may not be ideal for your lifestyle, we recommend discussing with your eye doctor if you have a chronic need for eye drops. There are a variety of treatments available.