It is not often we get a proper summer here in beautiful Britain but when we do it seems happens overnight and most of us are unprepared for when the big yellow ball makes an appearance.
On social media we laugh at posts of people that have fallen asleep in the sun and woken up with hilarious sunburn marks but we do need to rememeber the sun is a cruel mistress and with the summer months comes problems and precautions for our eyes.
The main culprits of eye problems during the summer months are exposure to sunlight, hay fever, chlorine and hygiene.
We are all aware that the sun can cause damage and whilst we take precautions wearing sun cream and hats people are unaware that our eyes really need protecting from UVA and UVB rays.
UVA can pass through the cornea right to the inside of the eye causing damage to the lens and retina. This damage over time can cause a formation of cataract or macular degeneration.
UVB rays affect us on the surface causing wrinkles, sunburn and cancer on both the skin and eyes.
UV rays can even penetrate through clouds so even on hazy days we are still at risk. To eliminate damage wear sun cream, brimmed hats and good quality sunglasses. Even children need to be wearing sunglasses to protect them. Look for UV400, CE and British Standard BS EN ISO 12312-1:2013. All these markings will indicate they are good quality and protecting.
Hay fever is a big downside to the summer. Symptoms of hay fever include itchy eyes/nose, sneezing, runny/blocked nose, swollen/puffy eyes and difficulty breathing. Apart from taking hay fever medicine there are a few things you can do which will ease symptoms.
- Obvious as it sounds try to avoid exposure to pollen. Even having your windows open will allow the pollen to enter so try to keep windows closed.
- Wear sunglasses to keep a barrier between you.
- Use eye drops to keep your eyes lubricated. All pharmacist have eye drops specifically for hay fever to help with the irritation.
- If you wear contact lenses it may be better to stop wearing them when the pollen levels are particularly high. It will give your eyes more chance to breathe and lubricate and wearing your spectacles will help create a small barrier.
Summer sports and activities
We all love cooling off in water during the warm weather but excessive exposure to chlorine can cause irritation and dryness. When doing anything water based wearing goggles will help keep the symptoms at bay.
Contact lens wearers should avoid wearing contacts in water especially chlorine based and hot tubs. Hot tubs breed bacteria which can cause eye infections (no one wants a gammy eye during the summer!)
Summer brings round the explosion of festivals. With festivals comes camping and not showering for a few days whilst chucking glitter and body paint all over you. Contact lens wearers still need to be keeping their cleaning habits up to scratch which can be tricky in some circumstances. If you keep to these guidelines you should be able to avoid infections.
- Always wash your hands before you put your contact lenses in your eyes.
- Use the contact lens solutions that you always use. Don’t ever use tap or bottled water, the wrong solution, or lick them.
- If you wear re-usable contact lenses, make sure you clean them properly, following your usual routine. Also make sure to clean them thoroughly again if they drop on the floor.
- As it can be difficult keeping your contact lens care routine whilst camping, consider wearing your spectacles instead or even trying daily disposable contact lenses as they are less maintenance.
At Penarth eye centre we sell sunglasses and prescription sunglasses. We can offer advice for contact lenses and we also have a range of sportswear which can be made into prescriptions too. If you have any queries or questions don’t hesitate to pop in or contact us.