True or false: Your eyes are consistent year-round, no matter the season. The answer, as you may have guessed, is false. The changes in weather, air pollution and other environmental factors that come with each season require that you take special care in different ways throughout the year to keep your eyes healthy. Some of the major culprits behind eye damage in the summertime include chlorine in pools, excess heat and lots of time spent in the sun. To help you keep your eyes in tip-top shape, here are a few tips to avoid dry eyes, red itchy eyes after swimming and the harmful effects of the sun.
Always wear sunglasses with 100 percent UV protection.
If you’re wondering when to wear sunglasses, the answer is as much as possible. When you’re driving, out by the pool, hanging out on a boat, taking a walk or even sitting by a window that gets direct sunlight, put on your shades. The sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays can cause something called photokeratitis, which means your eye’s surface has actually been burnt. This can be very painful, resulting in blurry vision, red eyes, and pain. The best way to prevent this is by wearing sunglasses that have 100 percent UV protection. You can get even further protection by wearing a wide-brimmed hat.
Avoid dry eyes from the heat.
The heat outside doesn’t just affect the health of your skin; it also can dry out your eye’s surface. The combination of heat and dryness can actually impede the eye’s tear film, which is there to keep your eyes lubricated and feeling good. To prevent this uncomfortable condition, use preservative-free artificial tears as directed to introduce extra moisture to your eyes. If you’re going to be in a very windy area, consider wearing 100 percent UV protective, wraparound sunglasses that will block the wind from getting to your eyes and further drying them out.
Keep your eyes safe from chlorine in pools.
Who doesn’t love swimming in the summertime? Kids and adults alike find the summer to be a great reason to hit the pool as often as possible. But sometimes, you might find that you experience red itchy eyes after swimming, making pool time a lot less fun. The reason for this is almost always chlorine. This common cleaning chemical can be damaging when it comes into contact with your eyes. This can happen when you open your eyes underwater, get splashed in the pool or accidentally rub your eyes with a hand that is wet with pool water.
To prevent harm to your eye’s natural tear film, and the redness, blurriness and gritty feeling that come with it, wear swim goggles in the pool. Another helpful idea is to splash your eyes with fresh water as soon as you get out of the pool. If necessary, you can also use artificial tear drops to wet the eye, or saline solution to flush the eyes if they have already come into contact with chlorine.
Wishing you, and your eyes, a safe and healthy summer. Please contact us to schedule an eye exam, or for more tips about keeping your eyes in good shape.