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Seasonal Eye Care

Optometrist Sydney CBD

Protecting Your Eyes in Summer: UV Safety Tips

 

As the temperatures soar and the sun becomes more intense, it becomes increasingly important to safeguarding our eyes. Summer, marked by longer days and increased outdoor activities, brings potential risks to our eyes from extended exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Here’s a factual guide on how to protect your eyes during the summer months.

 

What is UV?

In addition to the visible light that we see the Sun also produces invisible Ultraviolet light (UV). This is the energy that causes skin to become sunburnt, and then age prematurely. Eyes can also be damaged by UV, often far more quickly than skin. So, some protection for eyes is essential if we are outside for more than a few minutes.

 

Ordinary Glass will block some UV light. Specifically, it will block most UVB, the higher frequency UV light. But it will not really block the UVA. So, while we are unlikely to get sunburnt if we are behind plain glass our eyes can still suffer damage from the UVA light.

 

Some types of glass are treated to block 99% of UV light. This is usually tinted glass, with amber coloured glass apparently offering the best protection. But most car and house windows are not tinted, and only offer minimal UV protection.

 

 

 

Wear UV-Protective Sunglasses:

Invest in sunglasses that block 100% of UVA and UVB rays. This protection is crucial to shield your eyes from harmful UV radiation, known to contribute to cataracts, macular degeneration, and other eye conditions.

 

Choose Wraparound Styles:

Opt for sunglasses with wraparound frames to enhance protection by minimizing peripheral exposure to UV rays. This style offers comprehensive coverage, reducing the risk of UV-related eye damage.

 

Use Wide-Brimmed Hats:

Complement your sunglasses with a wide-brimmed hat. This adds an extra layer of protection, particularly during peak sunlight hours. The hat’s brim helps block direct sunlight from reaching your eyes.

 

Stay Hydrated:

Proper hydration is vital for overall health, including eye health. In the summer heat, dehydration can contribute to dry eyes. Drink an adequate amount of water to maintain moisture levels in your eyes.

 

Shade:

Being under cover during bright sunlight will help reduce UV light, but it cannot eliminate the UV entirely. The UV light will still be reflected off many surfaces, including ocean water, concrete and most building surfaces. So, while shade helps, we still need good sunglasses and sunscreen if we spend time outside.

 

Cloudy Days:

Unfortunately, there is still a lot of UV light in cloudy weather. Depending on the amount of cloud cover we might still experience half of the UV light we see from clear skies. So, continue to use sunglasses, a hat and sunscreen on cloudy summer days.

 

Take Breaks from Screens:

While summer often means more outdoor activities, if you find yourself spending time on digital devices, remember to take regular breaks. Prolonged screen time can contribute to digital eye strain, causing discomfort and fatigue.

 

Winter Eye Care: Dealing with Dry Eyes and Cold Weather Challenges

 

The winter season introduces its own set of challenges for eye health, primarily centred around dry eyes and exposure to harsh cold winds. Understanding how to address these issues is crucial for maintaining comfortable and healthy eyes during the colder months.

 

Combat Dry Air Indoors:

Cold outdoor air combined with heated indoor environments can lead to dry eyes. Use a humidifier to add moisture to the air inside your home or office, helping prevent the evaporation of tears and alleviating dry eye symptoms.

 

Protect Eyes from Cold Winds:

Exposure to cold winds can cause tears to evaporate more quickly, leading to dryness and irritation. Wear protective eyewear, such as wraparound sunglasses, to shield your eyes from the cold wind and reduce the risk of dry eyes.

 

Use Lubricating Eye Drops:

Lubricating eye drops or artificial tears can provide relief for dry eyes. Consider using preservative-free drops to prevent irritation and use them as needed throughout the day, especially if you spend extended periods in heated or dry environments.

 

Bundle Up with Eye-Friendly Gear:

In addition to sunglasses, consider wearing a wide-brimmed hat or a beanie that covers your eyes to protect them from the biting cold. This added layer helps maintain a comfortable temperature around your eyes.

 

Maintain a Nutrient-Rich Diet:

Consume foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins A and D, and antioxidants to support overall eye health. A balanced diet contributes to the production of tears and helps combat dry eyes.

 

Some Sun Exposure:

We need some sunlight to help our bodies produce vitamin D and stay healthy. Sunlight also regulates our sleeping cycle. We recommend a few minutes of Sun exposure in the early hours of the morning. Then use sunglasses and protection for the rest of the day.

 

Seasonal eye care is a year-round commitment to protecting your eyes from environmental factors that can impact their health. Whether shielding your eyes from UV rays in the summer or combating dryness in the winter, these factual tips provide practical guidance for maintaining optimal eye health throughout the changing seasons. Incorporate these measures into your routine to ensure your eyes remain comfortable and well-protected, allowing you to enjoy the beauty of each season with clarity and comfort.

 

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