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Protecting our Eyes in the Summer

Woman in sunglasses

The summer is finally here and while we all want to enjoy the better weather and longer days there are extra precautions we need to take to keep our eyes healthy and comfortable.

We are all now very aware of the extra protection our skin needs during the summer months but did you know we should also be giving our eyes the same care and attention.

Starting with the obvious one, sunglasses are the best way to protect our eyes during the summer but choosing the right eyewear can be confusing. Sunlight in the form of UV light can cause damage to the eyes and surrounding tissue. Evidence shows that UV light can cause cancer, macular degeneration, cataracts and pterygium (a non cancerous growth over the cornea). Not all sunglasses offer the same protection - do not confuse the colour or depth of the tint with level of protection. What you should look for is full UV protection and CE mark which denotes that they conform to European standards. Most sunglasses are also graded on depth of tint from 0-4 where 4 is the darkest. A wraparound style can offer even more protection from peripheral light.

There are some other considerations for sunglass choice depending on your lifestyle. If you are very active and taking part in sports you may want to consider an impact resistant lens.

Polarised lenses are an excellent choice for someone who wants to minimise glare, especially if you drive or take part in water sports. Photochromic lenses offer the convenience of a lens that will change in depth of tint dependent on light conditions. All of these lenses are available in both prescription and non-prescription options.

It is equally important to ensure children have good quality sunglasses as light exposure at this early stage can have an impact on their vision quality in later life - and of course eyewear can look cool!

The change in conditions can also have a negative effect in ocular comfort in the form of dry eye, a very common condition which can be aggravated by air conditioning in the office or car. Your eye care provider will be happy to advise you on the use of artificial tears to maximise comfort. If you are a hayfever sufferer you may benefit from specific allergy drops at this time of year.

If you are planning a holiday abroad you may wish to consider swimming goggles to avoid the irritation that chemical pool treatments can cause. This is especially important for contact lens wearers. Your eyecare provider should advise you not to swim in your contact lenses due to the increased contamination risk. Prescription swimming goggles are a healthy and convenient alternative.

Soaring temperatures (hopefully) can cause problems with dehydration which can have an adverse effect on the eyes in the form of dry eye and potentially contact lens intolerance. It is important to drink plenty of water. You may even want to try infusing your drink with fruit and vegetables which not only help it taste delicious but it is a great opportunity to boost your vitamin intake which has the added bonus of promoting eye health and reducing the chances of certain ocular conditions including macular degeneration.

Enjoy your summer and stay safe!


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