Whether staying at home or jetting off abroad, we all know how to protect and care for our skin in the summer. But many of us don’t realise it can also be an obstacle course for our eyes. Air conditioning, chlorinated swimming pools, outdoor activities, the effects of pollen and increased UV light exposure… all can disrupt our eye health. Here are 5 ways to look after your eyes this summer:
- Research carried out by Bausch + Lomb^1^ reveals that just 30% of us wear sunglasses to protect our eyes from bright sunshine regardless of time of year or location. However sunlight, even in the UK, can increase our long term risk of developing eye diseases, such as cataracts and age-related macular degeneration (AMD). It can also lead to photokeratitis, a painful inflammation of the front surface of the eye, sometimes referred to as snow blindness. So make sure you, and your children, protect your eyes with good-quality sunglasses. Look for the official CE mark and check they offer 100% UV protection. A wide brimmed hat and wrap-around sunglasses offer the best design as they prevent as much light as possible from entering the eye.
- Summer is a great time to play outside, but what happens if we get sand, grass or chlorinated water in our eyes? In fact, our research^2^ shows that almost a third (30%) of us have experienced sand in our eyes, causing many of us to give up on the beach and go home. And it’s not just problems at the beach: 45% of those questioned had experienced eye irritation after swimming in chlorinated water too. Usually our eye’s reflex reaction to a foreign body or eye irritation is to naturally water and this can flush it out. If it doesn’t however, go to your optician or pharmacist as they can advise on drops designed for irritated eye.
Protect your eyes with good-quality sunglasses. Look for the official CE mark and check they offer 100% UV protection
- Itchy eyes? If you find your eyes are itchy, try not to rub them as if there is something in your eye it could potentially scratch your cornea, the delicate clear film covering the front of our eye. Our eyes may be itchy due to an allergic response such as pollen, dust mites, or animals, so rubbing your eyes can make the situation worse. Look at using preservative-free daily eyelid hygiene wipes to clean the eye area and an anti-allergenic eye drop. If you’re unsure of what is causing your eyes to be itchy, speak to your pharmacist about an antihistamine eye drop.
- DIY and gardening are popular activities in the drier summer months. However, it can cause havoc with our eyes. Bausch + Lomb research^1^ shows that a third of us get foreign bodies entering our eyes whilst gardening, but eye woes from DIY and gardening can be more serious. So whether you’re renovating your house or tidying up the garden always wear safety spectacles for DIY or heavy gardening such as tree lopping and branch cutting.
- Worried about your contacts when travelling? Plan ahead to ensure you pack what you need to care for your lenses, such as storage cases and cleaning solutions. If you only have carry-on luggage, opt for a travel size solution under 100ml. If your optician has advised you to follow a lens wearing schedule, why not set an alarm on your phone to remind you to keep on track. Lastly, don’t forget to take out your lenses before an overnight flight and store them carefully.