Winter is the season most commonly associated with dry eyes. Cold weather, low humidity, and artificial heat can all contribute to dry, itchy eyes. When your skin needs extra moisture in the winter, your eyes probably do as well.
For chronic dry eye sufferers, however, a seasonal change doesn’t matter too much. Your eyes constantly suffer from irritation, itching, and discomfort. Chronic dry eye can be painful — if you’re going through bottles of eye drops every month, it’s time to see a doctor for relief.
The eye specialists at UltraVision can work with you to diagnose your dry eye and start a customized treatment plan. And now that summer is here, we offer these tips to help you keep your eyes feeling their best.
Sunglasses serve as both a fashion statement and a protectant. Although the sun isn’t actually brighter in the summer, it can feel like it. Everyone experiences a summer day when they walk outside and feel almost blinded.
There is a causal link between chronic dry eye and sensitivity to light, called photophobia. This means that chronic dry eye sufferers are more likely to be affected by brightness, which can often lead to migraine headaches.
Make sure to wear polarized sunglasses whenever you’re outside. On days when you plan to be outside for a long period of time, add a hat as well. The combination helps prevent most light from getting to your eyes.
You can enjoy those outdoor activities that pop up in summer, but be wary about chemicals. When hitting the pool, don’t forget a pair of goggles. Chlorine, although good at preventing germs in standing water, can also burn your eyes. Just closing your eyes won’t do the trick — you need additional protection.
When applying sunscreen or doing yard work, be conscious of your eyes. Work goggles can keep dirt, fertilizer, sawdust, pollen, and other potential irritants away from your eyes. Don’t penny-pinch on sunscreen: Use a face-specific cream or sunscreen for sensitive skin. Your eyes, and probably the rest of your face, will thank you.
Finally, when you’re blasting the A/C in the car on a hot day, make sure the vents aren’t pointed directly at your face. All of that blowing air robs your eyes of moisture and makes eye irritation worse.
Odds are you already have a routine that helps you cope with chronic dry eye. It’s important to keep up that routine in summertime. If you already use eye drops on a daily basis, don’t stop.
Also look into adding a couple of things.
Cover your eyes with a warm, wet washcloth for 10 minutes before you go to bed or when you wake up. The warm moisture feels great on your eyes, and the fabric of the washcloth can clear away any pollen or chemicals around your eyes as well. Also make sure to drink plenty of water; your eyes get dehydrated just like the rest of your body in summer.