Dry Eye Disease is a condition that affects an estimated 48% of Americans today. When our eyes cannot produce an adequate amount of tears to lubricate the eyes properly, it can be extremely uncomfortable. Characterized by a stinging or burning sensation, dry eye disease can worsen over time until medical attention is required. In the summer months, dry eyes can become an even bigger problem. Dry eyes can be made worse by sitting in air conditioned rooms, driving with the windows down, riding a bike, and many more of our favorite warm-weather activities. Some people may dread the arrival of summer weather because of the pain it can cause, but there are ways to help prevent dry eye disease from tarnishing your summer
Ultraviolet rays from the sun, especially during the summer, can be detrimental to the overall health of your eyes. When going outside, it’s always smart to bring a pair of UVA resistant sunglasses to help protect your eyes. Not only can the sun dry your eyes out, prolonged exposure can lead to other issues such as cataracts or skin cancer of the eyelids. Water from pools or the ocean harms your eyes during prolonged exposure due to the chlorine or salt content. Goggles are the best way to prevent your eyes from being damaged or irritated when going for a dip during the summer.
The quantity and quality of your tears, which lubricate your eyes, can be contingent on how hydrated you are. When you’re outside during the summer, make sure you’re drinking plenty of water to help keep your body optimally hydrated so it can perform at its peak, including your eyes.
If your eyes are starting to feel irritated, it’s a good idea to use over-the-counter artificial tears. These solutions are easily accessible at most pharmacies and help supplement the lubrication of the eye if your body is not naturally producing enough tears to keep you comfortable. Marano Eye Care can also provide prescription-grade eyedrops if over-the-counter options prove to be ineffective.
Certain factors around you can cause your eyes to dry out. Try to avoid smoke from cigarettes, cigars, and fires. Forced air, such as air that comes from air conditioners, can cause dry eyes so try opening the windows instead. Windy conditions can also cause dry eyes so try wearing glasses when running or riding a bike.
Many people don’t think that altering your diet can help with dry eyes, but it is one of most effective ways of doing so. Tears are produced using omega-3 fatty acids, which exist naturally in certain foods but can also be supplemented by vitamins from your local pharmacy. Some of the best fatty acids for tear production include:
These can also be found naturally in foods such as walnuts, fatty fish, chia seeds, and eggs. During the summer, some grilled salmon or tuna would be a perfect meal to help with your eye discomfort. Incorporating these things into your daily diet will help create more tears and higher quality lubrication.
The summertime is usually synonymous with leisure time, which means more time for things like reading, online shopping, and watching TV. While you’re resting your body and mind, it’s important to rest your eyes, too. These activities can be strenuous on the eyes, causing them to dry out faster than normal. It’s important to give yourself a little break and give your eyes a chance to regain some of their lubrication.
During the summer, there are plenty of irritants around you that can cause your dry eyes to worsen. Sand, pollen, dirt, and other things can all make their way into your eyes causing pain and discomfort. It’s important to always wash your hands before touching your eyes. If you do get something in your eye or they begin to feel irritated, place a warm compress over your eyelids, then wash them out gently with water to alleviate the discomfort. Some gentle baby shampoo can also be used on the eyelid, just be careful not to get any in the actual eye as it may cause irritation. This will help release some fatty acids and lubricate your eye. Rinse thoroughly before opening your eye if you choose to use the baby shampoo.
If your symptoms continue or worsen, it’s always a good idea to consult a doctor, especially if the condition persists for more than a day or two. We at Marano Eye Care are dedicated to keeping your eyes both healthy and comfortable. With three convenient locations in Denville, Livingston, and Newark, our doors are always open to new patients seeking help with their dry eyes. Contact us today to set up a consultation and let us help you make your summer that much better.