While Dry Eye Syndrome is commonly associated with the cold, winter months, Dry Eyes have a tendency to be even worse during the hot summer months, particularly in and around the mid-west.
Why? There are several reasons:
- Increased exposure to sunlight. During the summer months, people tend to spend more time outside, thus they are more exposed to the sun’s harmful rays. If one does not use proper eye protection from the sun, dry eyes can develop as the tear film on the eye can evaporate more quickly.
- Exposure to other factors such as chlorine from pools, salt from the ocean, and dust particles in the air. In addition, going in and out and a room with air conditioning causes a decrease in the moisture contained in our eyes.
Here are a few things you can do to counter the effects of Dry Eyes during the summer.
- First, we highly recommend wearing sunglasses with UV protection. Wraparound styles offer the best protection. Any pair of sunglasses with lenses that provide proper uv protection is good, but polarized sunglasses are the best sun protection you can buy for your eyes.
Polarized lenses have a special filter that blocks intense reflected light from the sun, effectively reducing the glare. In addition to protecting your eyes from the reflective light of the sun, objects look clearer and crisper, and it’s easier to judge distance and depth. This is particularly beneficial for athletes looking for optimal performance. Polarized sunglasses can eliminate reflection from light, whereas non-polarized glasses decrease the intensity of the reflection, but do not eliminate it.
- We recommend a prescription eye drop called Xiidra. Xiidra is essentially healthy, artificial tears which help lubricate and protect the surface of the eye. Applied twice daily, these drops can effectively treat your dry eyes. Contact your optometrist to find it if these drops are right for you.
- Wear a hat to add another layer between the sun and your eyes.
- For contact lens wearers, there are a number of lenses available that protect the eyes for the sun’s harmful rays. Ask your eye doctor if this is a good option for you and your lifestyle.
- Yes, believe it or not, your diet has an impact on keeping your eyes moist during the summer. Be sure to eat lots of fresh fruit and vegetables and drink plenty of water.