In the world of eyes, people fall into one of three categories:
- Perfect eyes
- Eyes needing corrective lenses
- Eyes modified by LASIK surgery
Whether you have perfect vision that requires no correction or you reach for your coke-bottle lensed glasses every morning, summer can wreak havoc on your eyes.
Think about it: when the mercury rises, we lather up the sunscreen, break out our most stylish set of shades, and stir up some Arnold Palmers.
But do we think about our eyes?
Summer dust, allergens, and UV rays can damage eyesight–sometimes permanently.
Read on to learn more about how to take care of your eyes, keeping the state and age of your peepers in mind.
How to Take Care of Your Eyes with Glasses
At first thought, you might think, “This is a dumb question. duh. Just put on your shades.”
And you’d be right in part.
To take care of your eyes in the summer, you need to think both about protecting them from the outside and then building them from the inside.
Not only do sunglasses look cool, prevent others from know you’re staring at them, and feel good, but they have a health function: they block out UV rays.
A quality pair of sunglasses can block 99 to 100 percent of UVA and UVB rays.
As you look for that perfect pair of shades, do not just peruse pictures of celebrities at the beach. Look for these things:
- A label that says UV400 or 100 percent UV protection
- Glasses that protect your eyes from all sides. Bigger is better (and leads to more beautiful eyes)
- Shatterproof lenses. Do not let a simple clumsy move of dropping your glasses lead to
- A reputable retailer: the guy outside your office selling glasses from a card table does not qualify as a reputable retailer. Neither does the man selling the glasses from the inside of his trench coat.
We have to remember, especially after an everlasting winter, the sun can cause damage. It can burn both your skin and your eyes.
The most intense sun occurs between 10am and 4pm, so avoid going out during these hours if possible. Eat a late breakfast and use that time to catch a quick siesta instead of soaking in those intense rays.
Nice weather means more outdoor activities. Protect your eyes in the midst of those activities. After all, you may never be able to blink fast enough to protect your eye.
Glasses come in all shapes and forms–not just the shaded kind. When you’re engaging in summer sports, yard work, or any sort of outside activity that could cause danger to your eyes, use protective glasses.
Water glasses, otherwise known as goggles protect your eyes too. Hot weather means more swimming, more cooling off in either a chlorinated pool or a murky lake.
Chlorinated pools do have the appropriate chemicals in them to kill nasty bacteria. However, even chlorinated pool water can have microorganisms that survive and can cause an eye infection.
Lakes naturally have exponentially even more bacteria that could cause because there’s no chlorine to kill those little buggers; swimmer’s eye – affects natural tear production; end up with red and gritty-feeling eyes and blurry vision.
Whenever you swim, whether you’re in the pool or the lake, keep the contacts at home. Your eyes are more vulnerable to infection with contact lenses on when you swim
Start from the Top
Some people cannot handle sunglasses–toddlers and people with prescription glasses that can’t afford prescription sunglasses in particular. In this case, hats with wide brims can protect your eyes.
Remember, also, in the midst of all the protection that clouds do not block UV rays. Even when you don’t need sunglasses, you need to protect your eyes, and that’s when hats can come in handy.
Take a Screen Break
Summer, for kids, in particular, means more free time. With free time comes more opportunity to look at a screen, be it a tablet, a television, or a smartphone.
Protect your eyes and your kids’ eyes by limiting their screen time. Many people subscribe to the 20/20/20 rule: every 20 minutes, look away 20 feet for 20 seconds.
So, to keep your kids’ eyes safe, limit their screen time to 20 minutes at a time. Do the same for your own eyes. After all, your adult eyes are closer to failure than your children’s eyes.
Wash Your Hands
Germs don’t just exist during flu season. Continue with your diligent practice of washing your hands in the summer to protect your eyes against the germs and bacteria that thrive on warm summer temperatures.
No, germs don’t just jump from your hands to your eyes. Do you know, though, how often you touch your eyes? More than you may think.
So keep your hands free and kill the funky bacteria summer produces.
Limit the AC
For those of you living nearer the equator than not, this tip may sound like the cruelest one yet. Limit your use of air conditioning.
Dry air will irritate your eyes, so if you cannot limit your use of the blowing, dry air, consider using a cold-air humidifier at home to keep the air moist.
When you’re road tripping on the great American road trip this summer, keep the vents pointed away from your eyes.
Even when you follow all of the previous tips, your eyes take a beating in the summer.
In fact, studies are now suggesting that the damage caused by UV rays can lead to Macular Degeneration, an irreversible condition that eventually leads to blindness.
You can also build eyes up from the inside with what you eat. Nutrition is the ninja of eye health in the summer.
Take advantage of the superfluous amounts of fresh fruits and veggies available in the summer months. The antioxidants in fresh produce will protect your body from the oxidative damage that leads to Macular Degeneration.
Twice a week break out the tuna, salmon, mackeral, and sardines to prevent eye damage. But stick with only twice a week to prevent too much mercury exposure.
The fish itself is important and not just the OMega 3’s. The magic in fatty fish has proven to prevent or at least waylay Macular Degeneration.
Higher levels of B vitamins are now showing to lower risk of macular degeneration. You do not need to necessarily start popping pills, though that is the surest way to get your B’s.
You can find vitamin B6 in vegetables and beans and B12 in fish and other animal products.
B12 – in fish and other animals products
The omega 3 oils found especially in walnuts, may decrease the risk of macular degeneration. But like the fatty fish, keep your consumption in moderation. For nuts, stick with around 1/4 cup a day because of their high-calorie content
Nutrient Rich & Low-Calorie Food
Salads are your friends when you’re trying to improve your eye health. And salads refresh the palate in the summer anyway with their crisp and cool texture and plenty of the same nutrients listed above.
Try making a big lunch salad or dinner salad. Even popular restaurants are beginning to catch on, with big lunch-time salads and lots of fresh ingredients.
You already know you need to stay hydrated in warm weather. Water consumption protects your eyes as well, since severe dehydration inhibits tear production.
Weak tear production means more than just not being able to cry at your favorite rom-com. Your eyes will hurt because they cannot lubricate. Welcome to dry, gritty eyes.
Your eyes need rest, more than just the 20 seconds every 20 minutes. When you’re tired, you rub your eyes and increase the likelihood of introducing irritants.
Summer has more daylight hours and thus the opportunity for less sleep. Practice good sleep hygiene to protect your eyes.
You can do this by going to bed a the same time every night and waking up at the same time every day.
Also, avoid long naps, keeping the absolutely necessary nap limited to 30 minutes or less.
Establish a regular bedtime routine. Think about what helps you relax: a bath, shower, book, quiet room, or soothing music can help create the best environment for rest.
Try to exercise regularly to create some balance, but avoid exercising right before bedtime.
Avoid stimulants like caffeine or nicotine right before bed. Create a “not after 3 pm” rule that keeps you sipping on herbal tea rather than espresso at 5pm.
Make sure you have the best sleep environment possible with soft sheets, a cool room (between 60 and 67 degrees), dim light, a comfortable mattress and pillow, blackout curtains, earplugs, a white noise machine or whatever else helps you fall asleep.
Every day try to get appropriate and healthy exposure to natural sunlight. This will help stimulate the need to rest at night as well.
Combine to Take Care of Your Eyes
As you ponder how to take care of your eyes in the summer, pick out a handful of the tips above. Even just a few changes can make a big difference to protect one of your most important organs.
If you have any questions or need an eye exam, contact us for the optimal optical health needs.