It's the season for fun in the sun, and we’ve got some proactive tips for healthy eyes during summer. Eye problems can be experienced at any time of year and affect anyone at any time, but during summertime, a few types of issues may be more likely to develop. Below are some common eye problems that are more prevalent during the hot, summer months and tips to keep your eyes safe.
Summer Eye Allergies: When you think of eye allergies, you may believe they only pop up in the spring, but there are also common allergens in the summer. Mold and seeds often peak during the warmer months of summer and can cause itchy eyes, burning, and dry eyes. Eyes are also prone to allergic reactions due to the heat and high levels of pollutants and irritants in the air.
UV Damage and Burns: Sunburns do not only affect the skin. Too much sun exposure can also lead to a corneal burn and cause symptoms, such as dry eyes, blurry vision, and a gritty feeling. A condition known as Surfer’s Eye (Pterygium/Pinguecula) results in growths on the eyes from harmful UV rays.
Dry eyes: Dry eyes are a very common condition year-round, but problems may increase in the summer. The higher temperatures outside along with fans and air conditioning inside can create dry eye symptoms. These include a gritty or sandy feeling in the eye, redness and eyes that are light sensitive and more watery than usual.
Increased risk of infection: Even if it’s not cold and flu season, you are not immune to developing an infection. Activities such as camping or swimming may expose you to additional pathogens. Viral conjunctivitis is the most common eye problem during summer. Redness, prickling, discharge, and watering of the eyes are all symptoms.
5 Eye Care Tips for Summer
Now that we’ve highlighted some of the summertime issues our eyes can experience, what can be done to prevent them? You should still follow the same eye care rules as alway, such as washing your hands before handling contact lenses and ensuring you are wearing the right eyewear when engaging in certain sports and activities. In addition to this, here are our best tip to care for your eyes during the summer:
1. Wear sunglasses - Even when it's cloudy outside, wearing sunglasses with UVA and UVB protection is essential. Even if your contact lenses have UV protection built-in, sunglasses are still recommended because they protect the surrounding eye area and act as a barrier between your eyes and the summer heat, preventing dry eye.
2. Drink plenty of water - Dehydration is more likely to occur during the summer months, affecting your body's ability to produce tears. This can cause dry eyes, so it's critical to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water.
3. Consider eye drops - Lubricating eye drops can help if you have dry eyes as a result of the hot summer weather. These drops mimic natural tears and provide long-lasting hydration with fewer applications.
4. Limit Exposure to Allergens - It's impossible to avoid all allergens, especially those found outside, but wearing sunglasses and washing your face as soon as you come in from outside can help.
5. Wear goggles - No matter where you’re swimming, be it a pool or a lake, wearing swimming goggles will prevent contaminants from entering your eyes and causing bacterial infections and other eye diseases.
Make the most of the summer months and keep your vision healthy and safe for the rest of the year. Gulf Coast Vision Center is available at any of our locations to help provide the resources and care for you and your family’s eyes!