Summer has officially arrived. Over 90% of the world's population lives in the northern hemisphere, which means more people having fun in the sun. However, engaging in joyful outdoor activities and spending too much time in the sun might be harmful to your eyes. Today let us focus on eye health in the summer.
UV rays are always the biggest concern in the summer. Numerous eye health issues are linked to UV exposure. UV rays may result in growths on the surface of the eye, it may also result in cataracts and macular degeneration. Many people enjoy outdoor activities during the summer, but they are exposed to more UV radiation throughout summertime than they think:
- UV rays can bounce off certain materials like water, sand or grass and harm the eye in invisible ways.
- Car windows and most residential windows also allow UVA rays (one form of UV rays) to enter, so people might be exposed to UVA rays even when they are indoors.
- UV rays are more intense in the summer, but many people do not realize that their eyes are injured and are thus unable to take necessary precautions.
UVA rays may cause eye disease, and once the damage is done, it is irreversible. Therefore, summer is a particularly dangerous season for eye health.
While eye problems can occur at any time of the year, certain eye diseases are more common in the summer because of the extreme heat. Dry eyes, pterygium and summer eyes allergies are typical summertime eye health issues. In recent years, as the frequencies of extremely high temperatures, day and night during summer increase related eye diseases are also on the rise.
Dry eyes occur when high temperatures cause the eye’s tear film to evaporate too quickly. Common signs include light sensitivity, painful, gritty eyes that are more watery than usual, blurry vision, and ocular redness. People who have had eye disease in the past are more vulnerable to dry eyes.
Long-term exposure to UV rays may cause pterygium which is the raised, fleshy, triangular-shaped growth on your eye’s conjunctiva. Your eyes may be red, swollen, and irritable in mild cases, and severe cases can cause decreased or distorted vision after changing the shape of the cornea.
Pterygium may grow even large to cover your cornea (pupil and iris). Without timely treatment, the patients may lose eyesight and consequently limit their quality of life. Wearing high-quality sunglasses is essential for preventing the recrudescence of pterygium.
Summer Eye Allergies
Eye allergies are normally caused by allergens. Common triggers include:
- Outdoor allergens such as pollen, trees, weeds, etc.
- Indoor allergens such as pet dander, dust, mould, etc.
- Irritants such as cigarette smoke, diesel exhaust, fume, etc.
The most common summer allergy symptoms include watery eyes, itching, redness, burning, and congestion. Though summer eye allergies mostly depend on allergens reaction and the condition of your eye, the best treatment is prevention. If you could get treatment for your eyes immediately then summer allergies would not cause long-term havoc on the health of your eyes.
Tips for staying away visual problems
Wear Suitable Sunglasses
Sunglasses can effectively block UV rays. They are essential if you wish to avoid common eye problems in the summer. Lots of studies have demonstrated that sunglasses can help protect against eye diseases, including cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration, and pterygium. This tip is one you should follow even when it’s cloudy since UV rays can damage your eyes any time of the year.
If you are willing to spend more time outdoors, you’ll benefit from wearing sunglasses:
- Wearing sunglasses when outside in the sun can assist to lessen eyestrain and weariness and you can enjoy your time outside even more.
- Wearing sunglasses while driving may improve your vision and make you feel more at ease.
Attention: maximize your protection by choosing sunglasses that have 100% protection against both UVA and UVB rays.
Wear a Hat and Be Careful When Using Sunscreen
Children who have clearer and more vulnerable lenses than adults, or those who have visual impact ailments, require more protection to stay safe. Equipping them with hats to protect their eyes and increase the protection of eyeballs, and eyelids, and significantly decrease UV exposure is a must.
On the other hand, you should be careful when you apply sunscreen to the eyelids, and avoid sunscreen getting into your eyes. Although sunscreen won’t cause permanent eye damage or vision loss, it does give the eye’s surface a chemical burn that can hurt for a few days. Do not panic when it happens, clean water can be used to flush it, and eye drops can better ease the painful feeling.
Add UV Blocking Window Films
Cling films added to house or car windows can essentially eliminate UV radiation and makes you enjoy the summertime without the harmful UV rays. As we have mentioned above, UVA rays can pass through glass. Therefore, UV-blocking cling films are necessary for you if you want to enjoy summer indoors or if you want to go on a long-term road trip in your car.
Wear Protective Eyewear
Wear the appropriate eye protection while you are engaging in outside activities, such as swimming, biking, hiking, or working on a carpentry project in your garage.
To be specific, wearing goggles can prevent the swimmer’s eyes from stinging feeling, burning, or red eye, this is because the chlorine in swimming may irritate your eyes. The same goes for salt and other contaminants in the ocean. Chemical or bacterial conjunctivitis can also occur if you don’t wear protective eyewear when you do carpentry work.
Similarly, for people with vision impairment or colour blindness wearing aids for enhancing vision are also necessary. Electronic eyewear is a good option for doing outdoor activities. Like Zoomax vision aids Acesight S, the stylish, comfortable, and lightweight equipment, it is a wonderful match for those who want to exercise more.
In addition, the most important thing is to make sure you choose the appropriate safety eyewear for the task or activity and make sure the glasses are in good shape with no cracks and fit you properly.
Rest Your Eyes Every 20-mins and Choose Good Reading Aids
Reading or watching TV at home during the summer holidays is also a good option for some people. If hot days keep you cooped up inside, make sure you and your kids are giving your eyes ample breaks from screen time. Long screen use can cause eye strain, blurred vision, dry eye syndrome, and headaches.
Besides, for people with visual impairments, choosing the right visual video magnifier device for reading is also important. Digital magnifiers and other non-optical magnifiers are excellent choices, and the low vision problem digital reading device with a speech output system and OCR function is better.
Stop Smoking and Eat Nutritious foods
Severe eye diseases, including dry eye syndrome, age-related macular degeneration, cataracts, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, etc., are more common among smokers. Avoiding smoking is one strategy to lower your risk of developing these eye-related problems.
On the other hand, good nutrition has been linked to good vision. It is preferable to consume a range of fruits, vegetables, and other foods that are high in vitamins and antioxidants. The nutrients found in leafy greens, especially spinach, kale, broccoli, and collard greens, preserve your vision and may even stave off some eye conditions like dry eyes, age-related macular degeneration, etc. Our eyes also benefit from eating foods high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as walnuts and salmon.
In addition, a balanced diet rich in a range of nutrients can also help you keep your blood sugar and weight within healthy levels, and let you stay away from illnesses like type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure that can cause eye issues.
Have Enough Sleep
Longer daylight hours can occasionally result in less sleep, and insufficient sleep can make it difficult to focus on a range of tasks, including those that call for your visual attention (like reading, driving, etc). Rubbing your eyes while you are drowsy might introduce irritants or bacteria to your eyes, and tired eyes can often feel dry and irritated.
Protect Eyes With Low Vision
As medical knowledge advances and new technologies develop, our understanding of vision loss and eye health, and how best to treat it are constantly improving. Do not forget to keep your eye health in mind as you enjoy your summertime. Especially for those visually impaired people. Low vision individuals’ eyes are more fragile and sensitive, making vision loss or eye problems more likely if they are not adequately protecting their eyes from potentially harmful UV rays.