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8 ways to take care of your eyes during summer


Summer is a time for fun in the sun, but it’s also a time when our eyes are exposed to numerous hazards. From harmful UV rays to chlorinated pools, our eyes can suffer if we don’t take proper care of them.

That’s why the team at Edwards & Walker Opticians have put together this comprehensive guide to ensure your eyes stay healthy and protected during the summer months.

Why is eye care important in summer?

Summer brings longer days and more sunlight, increasing our exposure to UV rays. These rays can damage the delicate structures of the eye, leading to conditions such as cataracts and macular degeneration. In addition, activities like swimming and spending time outdoors expose our eyes to chlorine, saltwater, sand, and pollen, which can cause irritation and infections.

Tips for eye care this summer from the Edwards & Walker team

1. Wear sunglasses

Why it matters: Whether you’re in Doncaster at the races, enjoying a barbeque with friends or about to jet off to the Med, wearing sunglasses is a must to protect your eyes from harmful UV rays.

Prolonged exposure to ultraviolet radiation can lead to cataracts, macular degeneration, and photokeratitis, also known as sunburn of the eye. UV rays can also damage the delicate tissues of the eyes, accelerating the aging process and potentially leading to vision loss over time.

What to look for:

  • UV protection: Ensure your sunglasses block 100% of UVA and UVB rays.
  • Polarized lenses: These reduce glare, making it easier to see in bright conditions.

E&W bonus tips:

  • Always carry a pair of sunglasses with you (it never hurts to have more than one pair)
  • Invest in a quality pair that offers both UV protection and comfort.
  • If you’re in Doncaster, drop in and check out our latest sunglasses collection

2. Wear hats for extra protection

Why it matters: Hats are often overlooked but can be super-important to support better eye health. Just like sunglasses, a wide-brimmed hat can reduce the amount of UV exposure to your eyes, as well as providing additional shade. The perfect excuse to get that massive fascinator you’ve always wanted as part of your race outfit!

What to look For:

  • Brim size: Opt for a hat with at least a 3-inch brim.
  • Material: Choose breathable fabrics like cotton to stay cool.

E&W bonus tips:

  • Combine wearing a hat with sunglasses for maximum protection.
  • Hats can also protect your skin from sunburn.

3. Stay hydrated

Why it matters: Dehydration can lead to dry eyes, making them more susceptible to irritation or blurry vision. Essentially a lack of water means a lack of tears, which helps keep your eyes moisturised and comfortable.

How to stay hydrated:

  • Drink plenty of water: aim for at least 8 glasses a day.
  • Eat hydrating foods: fruits and vegetables like cucumbers, watermelons, and oranges are great choices.
  • Limit caffeine and alcohol: these can dehydrate you quickly.

E&W bonus tips:

  • Carry a reusable water bottle to remind yourself to drink water throughout the day.
  • Use hydrating eye drops, available from the practice in Doncaster, if your eyes feel dry.

4. Protect your eyes when swimming

Why it matters: Pool water often contains chlorine and other chemicals that can irritate and dry out the eyes. These substances can strip away the natural protective oils on the eye’s surface, leading to discomfort and increased susceptibility to infections such as conjunctivitis. In addition, swimming in natural bodies of water (eg. the sea) exposes the eyes to bacteria, algae, and other contaminants that can cause irritation or infections.

How to protect your eyes:

  • Wear swim goggles: these keep water out of your eyes
  • Rinse your eyes: after swimming, rinse your eyes with fresh water to remove any residual chlorine or salt.

E&W bonus tips:

  • Avoid swimming with contact lenses as they can trap bacteria and lead to infections.
  • Get prescription swimming goggles – speak to the Edwards & Walker team to learn more!
  • Use lubricating eye drops before and after swimming to maintain moisture – drop into our Doncaster practice to pick yours up!

5. Avoid rubbing your eyes

Why it matters: We know it’s hard, but rubbing your eyes during the summer can transfer bacteria and allergens from your hands to your eyes, leading to infections like conjunctivitis or exacerbating allergy symptoms. Frequent rubbing can also damage the delicate tissues around the eyes and increase the risk of scratching the cornea, which can cause irritation and even more serious eye conditions.

What to do instead:

  • Use a clean tissue: gently dab your eyes if they are itchy or watering.
  • Apply a cold compress: This can soothe irritation without the need for rubbing.

E&W bonus tips:

  • Wash your hands frequently to avoid transferring dirt and germs to your eyes.
  • Use antihistamine eye drops if allergies cause itchy eyes.

6. Take breaks from screen time

Why it matters: In combination with everything else, prolonged exposure to screens can lead to digital eye strain, characterised by symptoms like dryness, irritation, blurred vision, and headaches.

The summer is an excuse to get out, which allows your eyes to rest and recover, helping to maintain overall eye health and comfort – assuming you’re wearing the right sunglasses, which our team would be more than happy to help you with!

How to reduce eye strain:

  • Follow the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds.
  • Adjust screen settings: Ensure your screen brightness and contrast are comfortable for your eyes.

E&W bonus tips:

  • Use blue light filters on your devices.
  • Maintain an appropriate distance from your screen (about an arm’s length away).
  • Make sure your glasses always have an anti-reflective coating – speak to the team to learn more!

7. Be aware of allergies

Why it matters: As we’re sure many of you know, pollen and other allergens are more prevalent in summer, causing significant eye irritation and discomfort. Allergic reactions often result in symptoms like itching, redness, tearing, and swelling, which can interfere with daily activities and overall eye health, and also lead to secondary infections caused by frequent rubbing or touching of the eyes.

How to manage allergies:

  • Check pollen levels: stay indoors when levels are high during peak pollen times
  • Use over-the-counter allergy medications: Antihistamines can help relieve symptoms.

E&W bonus tips:

  • Keep windows closed during high pollen times.
  • Use an air purifier to reduce indoor allergens.

8. Book an eye test at Edwards & Walker Opticians, Doncaster

Why it matters: As mentioned above, the increased exposure to UV rays during the summer months can accelerate eye conditions such as cataracts and macular degeneration, making it crucial to monitor eye health closely.

In addition, allergens and dry, hot weather can exacerbate issues like dry eye syndrome and conjunctivitis – conditions that an eye test can help diagnose and manage.

Summer activities often involve more time outdoors, where sharp and clear vision is essential for safety and enjoyment. An eye test with us ensures any changes in vision are promptly addressed, allowing for appropriate protective measures, such as updated prescriptions for sunglasses or other corrective lenses, to be taken.

When to schedule:

  • Annually: even if you don’t have vision problems, we’d always recommend a yearly exam to make sure your eye health is in tip-top shape.
  • If you notice changes: always schedule an appointment if you experience any changes in your vision or you’re suffering from any eye issues.

E&W bonus tips:

  • Bring your sunglasses to your eye test as your eyes may be dilated.
  • Discuss any summer-specific concerns with Dr Basra when you come in, inlcuding those which you’ve read about above.

Take care of your eyes this summer…

Taking care of your eyes during the summer is crucial for maintaining overall eye health and comfort. By following these simple tips and being mindful of the unique challenges summer poses to your eyes, you can enjoy all the season has to offer without compromising your vision. Remember, prevention is always better than cure, so make eye care a priority this summer.

Book your eye test online today!

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