How can you protect your eyes during summer?
Summer is here and the in some parts of the country, the summer holidays are just around the corner. If you’ve not already planned your vacation in advance, you will probably want to at least make the most of the good weather at home, either by sunbathing in your garden, visiting the beach or embarking in all sorts of outdoorsy activities.
However, while summer is generally a great time of year, it can be very problematic for your eyes. Not only are you exposing yourself to more UV radiation, especially if you’re heading abroad, but allergies such as hayfever are also rife at this time of year meaning your eyes can come under a lot of pressure. That’s why today I’m going to give you a few of my top tips for supporting your eyes, as well as some habits you should definitely avoid during the summer months!
1 – Don’t forget to drink plenty of water
If you’re familiar with any of my other blogs, you’ll probably know that this is a point I like to try and drill into my readers as often as possible. However, there really is no overstating how important it is that you drink plenty of fluids, especially during the warmer summer months.
Your eyes, like the rest of your body, rely on a steady intake of water to function properly and, if you start to become dehydrated, it can affect the blood supply to your eyes. This causes them to become swollen and puffy, as well as possibly impacting your cornea and, consequently, your vision!1
Staying hydrated is particularly important during the summer months; not only can the heat cause you to perspire more, meaning you’ll lose valuable fluids and electrolytes, but it’s also extremely easy during this time to swap a glass of water for something more fruity or alcoholic.
Now I’m not about to say you shouldn’t enjoy a pina colada on holiday or a pint at your summer BBQ but try to keep your water intake top of mind too – I usually try to make sure there’s water at the table when I go out so I know I can keep topped up.
2 – Address your allergies
Summer might be welcomed with open arms by the majority of us but, for approximately 1 in 4 of us in the UK, summer can be a time of dread. This is because summer is often accompanied by a rapid rise in the pollen count, intensifying hayfever symptoms such as sneezing, skin irritation and headaches. Your eyes too, often play a starring role when it comes to hayfever as pollen can cause irritation. This can later lead to dry, watery eyes that are inflamed and extremely itchy.
In these circumstances, the best thing you can do is to try and tackle your hayfever head on. Try to be savvier about when you head out to the park or visit your local gardens by keeping an eye on the pollen forecast in your area. Don’t leave your home without having your hayfever medicines on hand, whether it’s our Pollinosan Hayfever Tablets or our Luffa Nasal Spray.
When it comes more specifically to your eyes and easing any irritation, I’d try to include our Extra Moisturising Eye Drops in your list of must-have remedies. These drops contain twice the amount of hyaluronic acid found in our traditional eye drops making them extremely soothing and nourishing for eyes that are very dry and prone to irritation.
3 – Take protective measures at the pool
It’s summer so it’s only natural you’ll feel a bit more inclined to cool down at your local swimming pool or beach. However, both salt water and pool water can be challenging for your eyes, as I discuss in my blog ‘Irritated eyes when swimming,’ Chlorine is commonly used to disinfect most swimming pools but this harsh chemical can be very aggravating for your eyes meaning you leave the water with dry, red eyes.
That’s why I really cannot stress the importance of taking a good pair of goggles with you. Goggles can help to protect your eyes from chlorine and other irritants, allowing you to swim without having to worry about the inevitable aftermath when you eventually get out. Even if you do wear goggles that fit properly though, I’d still try applying some soothing eye drops once you leave the pool just to add another layer of protection and to keep your eyes nice and hydrated.
4 – Don’t discard your sunglasses
Yes, you didn’t think I wouldn’t put this on my list did you? When you think of eye protection during summer, sunglasses are probably the first thing that pops into your head and with good reason! However, if you’ve read my blog, ‘The importance of sunglasses,’ you’ll probably already know that the kind of sunglasses you choose matters greatly. Ideally you should be aiming for a pair that provide 99-100% absorption of UV rays – anything less can still leave your eyes vulnerable to the effects of UV radiation.
5 – Keep things short and sweet with your air con
When things start to get hot and stuffy in your office, the chances are that you and your colleagues rely on your air con to cool things down. Unfortunately, while your air con can be great for regulating the temperature and preventing you from getting too hot and bothered, it can also dry out your eyes quite quickly. This definitely isn’t good, especially if you’re already involved in a job that forces you to spend a lot of time in front of a computer.
That’s why I’d recommend opening a window and using your air con in short bursts, rather than leaving it on all day. Of course, if things are really unbearably sweltering, I can understand why you’d prefer to have the air con on and, in that case, I’d make sure you have our Extra Moisturising Eye Drops on standby at your desk.
6 – Protect your eyes from sunburn
When you think of sunburn, you probably think of peeling shoulders, a flushed face and uneven tan marks. However, the delicate skin around your eyes isn’t immune to UV radiation and, if you don’t wear sunglasses or take other protective measures, it can easily become burnt too, triggering unpleasant symptoms such as itchiness, irritation and swelling.
Sunburnt eyes are known as photokeratitis and it can have consequences for your vision, increasing your sensitivity to light.2 With treatment though, the sunburn usually resolves itself within a few days but, if your symptoms persist, it’s important that you speak to a doctor.
If you want to avoid burning your eyes it’s important you take protective measures – sunglasses are a must and you could also try wearing a wide-brimmed hat to keep the sun away. However, you may also want to consider applying suncream around this facial area although you will need to be careful – you don’t want to get suncream in your eyes!
I’d always recommend a natural suncream as some of the chemicals found in conventional suncreams can be very irritating.
7 – Get plenty of antioxidants!
It’s summer and while you’re probably more tempted by ice cream and sorbets, there’s an amazing amount of antioxidant-rich fruits now in season! From blackberries that are bursting with vitamin C to crunchy carrots that contain plenty of beta carotene, now is definitely the right time to try and feed your eyes with as many vision-boosting vitamins and minerals as possible!
Fruit and veg that are rich in vitamins A, C & E, minerals like zinc, antioxidants like lutein as well as plant-based sources of omega 3 should be at the top of your shopping list. You can read more about their specific benefits in my blog ‘Good foods for eye health’, but below I’ve listed a few of my favourite recipes that contain all the nutrients you need to support your eyes.
Carrot & Mango Smoothie
Homemade Strawberry Ice Cream
Peppers Stuffed with Lentils
Tasty Tofu Kebabs