Keep your eyes comfortable this summer

Long sunny days, alfresco living, blooming gardens, beach days, and outdoor sports – summer is a wonderful time of the year, but it also means extra protection is needed to keep your eyes healthy and comfortable.

As we all stock up on sun cream to protect our skin from the elements and fun of summer, we don’t always take such good care of our eyes, even though our eyes are ten times more sensitive to UV than our skin.

UV radiation is higher in the summer, even on cloudy days, so it is important to protect your eyes whenever you’re outside.

Read on for our top tips on how to keep your eyes protected from those sunny rays, as well as how to combat eye discomfort caused by summer allergies.  

Stay cool with daily UV protection

Those glorious rays of sunshine provide us with some great feel-good nutrients but the ultraviolet radiation (UVR) in sunshine can also be harmful to your eyes.

The easiest (and most stylish) way to protect your eyes from UV is by wearing sunglasses. Look for a CE (European Conformity) or British Standard mark to make sure your sunglasses provide top UV protection. The British Standard benchmarks quality, strength, stability, design, and manufacture as well as UV protection.

For extra protection look for shades with UV400 which offer the maximum defence from UV, filtering out 99-100% of UVA and UVB rays.

It’s also worth thinking about frame shape and lens size, with larger lenses and wrap-around frames offering more coverage and protection.

And of course, your optician can advise about prescription sunglasses if needed to help with eyesight.

Some contact lenses also have UV protection, with class 1 UV blocking lenses offering the highest level of protection blocking 90% of UVA rays and 99% of UVB rays, and class 2 UV blocking lenses blocking 70% of UVA rays and 95% of UVB rays.  Contact lenses with UV protection are a great option for protecting the insides of the eyes but wear them with sunglasses to also protect the sensitive skin around the eyes including the eyelids.

Soothing solutions to eye irritation

With pollen and dust in the air, and sand, salt water and sun cream on our faces, our eyes have a lot to contend with in the summer months.

While the initial reaction to eye irritation is to rub your eyes, this is the last thing you should do as it can cause damage and infection.

Instead, try using eye drops to soothe irritated or dry eyes; ask your optician for a recommendation for which drops will work best for you.

To help with hay fever, a pollen barrier balm can help to catch pollen before it reaches your eyes.  And don’t forget to remove traces of pollen on your person by regularly washing your hands as well as your clothes.

For contact lens wearers, we recommend wearing daily contact lenses if you suffer from hay fever, as these can easily be removed and disposed of along with any traces of pollen they might have on them.

Stay focused on sport

If you regularly enjoy outdoor sports and activities, it’s worth considering specialist eye protection to counter the amplified UV risk you’re likely to be exposed to – especially if you take part in sports in areas like the beach and near water that can be high-glare environments.

UV protection alone doesn’t make a pair of sunglasses effective against glare so it may be worth considering a polarized or mirrored lens which is also UV-protected to help to reduce glare.

If it isn’t practical to wear glasses or sunglasses whilst playing sport, discuss contact lenses with built-in UV protection with your optician.

See crystal clearly in the water

Swimming and water sports are the exception to wearing contact lenses for sport. Wearing contact lenses in the water might seem like an easy option but it can cause serious eye health problems like infection.

When water hits the eye, contact lenses can become dislodged or washed out entirely causing immediate distortion of vision, or, in worst cases, water in lenses can cause infection.

A sensible alternative for water sports is prescription goggles. Swimming goggles come ready-made for basic prescriptions, and as well as helping you to see clearly and safely in the water, they can offer UV protection too.

If you do decide to wear contact lenses whilst in the water, make sure you use daily disposables and throw them away as soon as you get out of the water, and wear non-prescription goggles to prevent water from getting near your eyes.

Keep an eye on your eye health

Your optometrist can suggest solutions to keep your eyes comfortable and healthy so that you can make the most of the summer.  

We recommend you have an eye health check every two years to check for any damage to your eyes. Check in with us anytime for advice about eye care, protecting your eyes from sun damage or if you have any concerns about the health of your eyes.

Get in touch today to book an appointment with one of our experienced optometrists.

Call 02392 550723 for Lee-On-The-Solent or 01329 832706 for Wickham.

Alternatively email lee@optomeyes-eyecare.co.uk or wickham@optomeyes-eyecare.co.uk and one of the team will call you back to book your appointment.