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Summer in Santa Monica is almost here, and as we prepare for summer vacation and warm-weather adventures, it is crucial to consider eye health. Summer poses unique challenges for maintaining eye health, from harmful sun rays, which are certain to wreak havoc on the eyes, to increased exposure to allergens. Here are five essential tips to keep your eyes healthy and comfortable all summer.

1. Wear Sunglasses with UV Protection

One of the most critical steps to protect your eyes in the summer is to wear sunglasses that block 100% of UVA and UVB rays. Prolonged exposure to UV rays can lead to cataracts, macular degeneration, and other eye conditions. When choosing sunglasses, look for those labeled “UV400” or “100% UV protection.” Polarized lenses can also reduce glare, making them ideal for driving and walking near water.

2. Stay Hydrated to Prevent Dry Eyes

Summer heat can lead to dehydration, affecting the production of tears and resulting in dry eyes. Drinking plenty of water throughout the day helps maintain the moisture balance in your eyes. Additionally, using a humidifier at home and taking breaks from air-conditioned environments can help alleviate dryness. If dry eyes persist, consider using lubricating eye drops recommended by your optometrist.

3. Use Protective Eyewear for Sports and Activities

Protecting your eyes from injury is essential whether you’re playing beach volleyball, swimming, or gardening. Wear swim goggles to protect against chlorine and saltwater for water activities, which can irritate the eyes and even introduce dangerous eye infections. If you are a contact lens wearer, wearing your glasses for water-based activities is best practice. However, if you are determined to wear contact lenses, consider switching to a daily disposable lens- as your optometrist for more information about swimming and contact lens safety. 

Use appropriate protective eyewear for other sports to shield your eyes from impact and debris. Always ensure that the protective gear meets the safety standards for the activity you’re engaging in.

4. Manage Allergy Symptoms

Summer allergens like pollen can cause itchy, watery eyes, making it challenging to enjoy outdoor activities. Wear wraparound sunglasses to reduce exposure to airborne allergens to minimize allergy symptoms. Keep windows closed during high pollen counts and use air purifiers to reduce indoor allergens. Over-the-counter antihistamine eye drops such as Pataday can also provide relief, but consult your optometrist before using any new medication.

5. Limit Screen Time and Take Breaks

Screen time can increase with more time spent indoors escaping the heat, leading to digital eye strain. Follow the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break to look at something 20 feet away. This simple practice can help reduce eye strain and fatigue. Ensure your screens are positioned at an appropriate distance and angle, and consider using blue light filters to minimize eye strain.

Conclusion

 

Summer is a beautiful time to enjoy the outdoors and partake in various activities, but it’s essential not to overlook eye care. By following these five tips—wearing UV-protective sunglasses, staying hydrated, using protective eyewear, managing allergies, and limiting screen time—you can ensure your eyes remain healthy and comfortable all season long. Remember, regular check-ups with your optometrist can also help detect any issues early and keep your vision clear and sharp. Book your eye exam with Dr Irina, your optometrist in Santa Monica, today!

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