Summer means sun, fun, fishing, hiking and new memories with family. Whether a student on summer break or an someone in the “adulting” world planning your next escape, summer is this most highly anticipated and outdoor activity season of the year. It’s the time of year we get away to enjoy the outdoors on our own or with friends and family. We all look forward to time in the sun, unless you have chronic Dry Eye and then you may see summer in a different light.
Let‘s not let chronic Dry Eye throw your summer plans in the shade. Here are some things to be mindful of while coping with Dry Eye symptoms in the heat of the summer:
Sunshine. This is the most obvious one. Protect your eyes from the sun by wearing appropriate eyewear and/or hats to avoid excessive exposure and squinting, which can cause your eyes additional stress. If you have heightened sensitivity to light as a result of Dry Eye, be mindful of wearing sunglasses with UV protection. If you wear contacts, try opting for glasses more often, as your eyes may be drier during this time and get further irritated.
Facial Hygiene. Summertime tends to open the floodgates of sweat pores for most people. Although sweat is mostly water, it can carry other things (e.g. bacteria, sunscreen, make up, etc.) towards your eyes as it falls down your forehead. Periodically cleaning with water-based wipes can be helpful. Also make sure you are washing your face and your eye lids at the end of the day to keep your eyes debris-free as much as possible.
Sunscreen. It is a necessary evil to avoid horrible tan lines, burning skin and of course to protect your skin from harmful UV rays. Sunscreen also has an uncanny way of always finding its way to your eyes. Remember that the leading cause of chronic Dry Eye, Meibomian Gland Dysfunction(MGD), is caused by blockages of the glands in your eyelids. Wash your hands after applying sunscreen, and close your eyes or look away if you are spraying sunscreen on yourself or others. Opt for sunscreen sticks for your face, instead of sprays.
Bodies of Water. Whether you’re swimming, surfing, boating or floating, be mindful of your eyes. If you frequent a pool often, keep in mind that hypochlorous acid (also known as chlorine) is an irritant, which will surely worsen Dry Eye symptoms. If you prefer the beach, be mindful of protecting your eyes from sand, especially on those windy days. Don’t open your eyes in any body of water without proper eyewear on (e.g. goggles, scuba mask, etc.).
Smoke. Summertime brings campfires and cookouts, and with that comes smoke. Smoke is not only harmful to your lungs, but also to your eyes, due to the tiny particles in the smoke causing severe irritation. The heat and particles work together to further chronic Dry Eye and irritate your eyes. Keep a healthy distance from smoke, especially if a flammable agent was used in starting the fire.
Keep The Sun Shining on your Summer Plans
Don’t let Dry Eye get in the way of your summer plans. Find the routines and products that help to best keep your Dry Eye symptoms under control. Be in the moment, but also listen to your body or in this case… your eyes. If you feel that chronic Dry Eye is taking over your quality of life, find a doctor who can talk to you about treatment options and access whether you have MGD, in addition to Dry Eye, as 86% of Dry Eye patients have MGD. Learn more about LipFlow, the only FDA cleared treatment MGD, proven with patients around the world with long-term results for alleviating Dry Eye symptoms.
Content shared from TearScience