For most people, summer means frolicking at the beach, hiking, fishing, and enjoying other outdoor activities. For people with chronic dry eye, summer means an uptick in stinging, burning, and scratchy sensations in your eyes.
Symptoms of chronic dry eye can make you dread summertime, but you don’t have to let dry eyes get in the way this season. With a few practical tips, you can beat the summer heat and enjoy your summer.
You know the importance of protecting your skin from the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays. Did you know your eyes need similar protection? UV radiation emitted from the sun not only aggravates dry eyes; over time, it can contribute to a number of eye problems, including damaging the macular, a vital part of the retina necessary for central vision.
Direct sunlight isn’t the only threat; UV rays can bounce off of reflective surfaces like water and sand. When you’re out enjoying the summer sunshine, it’s wise to protect your eyes with appropriate eyewear.
Choosing and wearing sunglasses with 100% protection against both kinds of UV rays — UVA and UVB — keeps your eyes safe all summer and reduces dry eye flare-ups. UV rays are invisible to the naked eye, and you need protection even on cloudy days.
Watch out for smoke
Campfires and cookouts are synonymous with summertime, but the smoke from fire pits and barbecue grills are bad news for dry eye symptoms. Smoke can cause severe irritation to your eyes, exacerbating dry eyes and making your symptoms worse.
When you find yourself enjoying a summertime cookout our campfire, taking care to position your seat a good distance from the fire source helps prevent worsening of your dry eye symptoms and keeps you comfortable during your favorite summertime festivities.
Wear swim goggles
Taking a dip in the pool is a great way to keep cool and contribute to your physical fitness. However, while the chlorine in pools is necessary to prevent growth of harmful bacteria, it isn’t dry eye-friendly. In fact, swimming in pools typically aggravates dry eye symptoms.
Wearing swim goggles is one of the best solutions to protect your eyes from irritants while swimming. This way, your dry eye symptoms won’t get in the way of enjoying a day at the pool.
Manage seasonal allergies
If you find that your dry eye symptoms flare up in spring, it’s possible that you also have allergies. Allergens like pollen can trigger or worsen dry eye symptoms. If you’re diagnosed with seasonal allergies, it’s a good idea to begin allergy treatment a few weeks before your symptoms usually start.
Effectively controlling your allergies can help rein in dry eye symptoms. If you aren’t presently diagnosed with allergies, it’s a good idea to see a doctor to determine if you have them. It may be the missing link to better managing your dry eye symptoms in the summer.
Schedule a comprehensive eye exam
Various eye conditions cause chronic dry eye. Meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD) is the leading cause of chronic dry eye. MGD is characterized by a dysfunction of the glands along your eyelids. People with this condition don’t secrete enough oil into tears, which prevents the eyes from maintaining lubrication. Treatment helps improve dry eye symptoms.
A comprehensive eye exam looks at your eye and entire visual system and can catch eye problems you may be unaware of. Detecting eye issues is an important way to keep your eyes healthy. It’s a good idea to schedule an eye exam even if you aren’t having noticeable problems. Sometimes eye issues are subtle, and symptoms may go unnoticed.
At Valley Eye Professionals, keeping your vision healthy is our top priority, and we offer several treatments for dry eyes. Don’t ignore chronic dry eye. Left untreated, you run the risk of infections and damage to your eye.
If you’re plagued with dry, irritated eyes, contact our Studio City office to schedule an evaluation with our one of our highly skilled optometrists. Our online scheduling tool saves time. Request an appointment using our convenient web tool today.