9 top tips for your eyes to survive the summer sun
After a scorching summer last year, the holiday season is upon us again. Whether you’re travelling to exotic destinations around the world or seeing the amazing sights within the UK, here is the only guide you’ll need to keep your eyes safe and healthy and your vision clear.
Holidays are essential for rest and relaxation but when our guard is down we may be more prone to incidents involving our eyes and vision. For the best guide, looking after your eyes involves protecting them from the risks associated from the sun, protecting your eyes from the risk of other holiday activities, finding the best optical corrections for the sun and summer activities and making sure that you’re prepared for any vacation mishaps.
When people think of the risks of summer, the first thing they think of is the sun. We’re all aware of the dangers to our skin and apply sunscreen for protection. The message about the risks to our eyes is beginning to get through and sunglasses are worn more frequently. It is possible to get sunburn on your eyes. Sometimes the symptoms don’t appear for a few hours after exposure to the sun and they can be very unpleasant:
- Pain ranging from mild to severe
- Bloodshot eyes
- Light sensitivity
- Teary eyes
- Blurred vision
- The sensation of having something in your eye
These sensations on your eyes can last for a day or two, drops for dry eyes may relieve the symptoms but luckily you can prevent it from happening in the first place.
The easiest way to protect your eyes from the sun is with sunglasses. Make sure that they are UV400 and CE marked. This is the strongest indication that you’re getting the best protection. Don’t wear fake or unmarked sunglasses, these provide no protection and could potentially allow more light to enter your eyes than no lens at all. If you’re a contact lens wearer and your lenses have UV protection, you still need sunglasses because the lens only covers a small area of your eyes.
If you’re a glasses wearer then you have some amazing options, there are lots of fantastic new tints and finishes that can be used in lenses for your prescription. We have a huge range of colours, mirrors and specialised tints for any use, occasion or activity that can be custom-made for your eyes and vision whilst giving you protection that exceeds normal sunglasses and standard tints.
Contact lenses are a great option for holidays, they give you more flexibility to do physical activities without the restrictions of glasses. Many contact lenses have UV protection, but you must always wear sunglasses. Luckily you can choose from the huge range of off-the-shelf sunglasses available on the market to wear over your lenses.
There are few holiday considerations for contact lens wearers. Take your contact lenses out when you’re on an aeroplane. The air conditioning and lower air pressure cause eyes to be very dry, especially if you manage to have a snooze on the plane. Always use the appropriate solutions for your lenses, tap water can carry very serious infections; this also applies to take lenses out before swimming (see below).
The ideal contact lens option is to wear daily disposable lenses. They reduce the risk of infections significantly, you don’t have to carry bottles of solutions and the convenience of throwing the lenses away at the end of the day adds to the relaxation of your holiday! Some people may wear other types of lenses at home and just use daily disposable lenses for holidays. If you’re worried about having a prescription that’s too strong for contact lenses, at Central Vision Opticians, we are an innovation practice, so we have partnered with manufacturers that are able to offer a wider range of daily disposable lenses than most other practices.
Aeroplane journeys can often be difficult for many eyes. The low pressure and air conditioning can make your eyes dry and uncomfortable. Remember to drink lots of water and, if needed, use drops for dry eyes. If you wear them, make sure to remove your contact lenses on the plane.
If you’re a glasses or lenses wearer, swimming can present a challenge for some. Always take lenses out before swimming. Luckily there are now some easy and cheap options for prescription swimming goggles.
The aeroplane, air conditioning in hotels and having a few drinks on holiday can often lead to dehydration so ensure that you drink plenty of water. This will help keep your eyes hydrated, fresh and comfortable. Lubricating/moisturising drops can be an essential part of your travelling kit. They provide instant relief and comfort.
Is your eye test up to date?
Make sure that your eye test is up to date before you travel to detect any potential health risks to your eyes.
Keep spare specs and lenses for emergencies
If you’re a glasses or contact lens wearer, always keep a spare pair of specs (and extra contact lenses) with you on holiday. People tend to be more relaxed and accidents can occur in places where getting a replacement pair can be difficult.
Wear a hat
Wearing a hat with a peak can block most of the direct sunlight and provides great protection from the harmful UV from the sun. Consider avoiding being outdoors between 11 am and 3 pm when the risk from the sun is at its highest.
Eye protection for sports and other activities
Holidays are a great way to indulge in new activities and experiences. If you are a spectacle wearer, there are many options for sports and protective eyewear to keep your eyes safe, including prescription swimming goggles.
Relax! Holidays are for rest, relaxation and recuperation. This is essential to help give some relief to your visual system from all the stresses placed on your eyes from work, studying and the demands of daily life.
Remember all these tips so you come back with refreshed and healthy eyes!