Barraquer Eye Hospital tips for Summer eye care and managing Dry Eyes

 Barraquer Eye Hospital tips for Summer eye care and managing Dry Eyes

Although exposure to sunlight is essential as a primary and excellent source of vitamin D, not following precautionary measures during the summer can lead to many risks that may negatively affect eye health. For example, spending time with direct unprotected exposure to the sun and summer heat accelerates the aging of the natural eye lens, with the formation of cataracts, and increases the risk of other conditions such as dry eye and macular degeneration.
With the current extreme rise in temperatures, the eyes are at risk of developing these conditions. Therefore, it is crucial to take all precautionary measures when enjoying summer activities. Below are a few tips from Dr. Borja Salvador, Consultant Ophthalmologist at Barraquer Eye Hospital. U.A.E.

1) Stay Hydrated:
Keeping the body well-hydrated is crucial, especially during the summer. Drinking about two liters of water daily helps compensate for the fluid lost through sweating and prevents dehydration, which can cause eye irritation.

2) Proper Nutrition:
Proper nutrition and a healthy lifestyle are essential for maintaining eye health, especially for chronic diseases like diabetic retinopathy. Foods rich in antioxidants, such as zeaxanthin, lutein, and vitamin C found abundantly in berries, leafy greens, and oranges, are vital for eye health.

3) Protect Your Eyes While Swimming:
Swimming is a popular summer activity, but pool water containing chlorine and sea water with saline content can negatively affect the eyes. Wearing swimming goggles is essential to protect your eyes from certain conditions and infections. Moreover, it helps as a great protection from preventing any foreign object to enter the eye.

4) Remove Contact Lenses Before Swimming:
One of the most important precautionary steps is to remove contact lenses before swimming. Wearing them can pose significant risks and adverse effects, such as infectious keratitis, corneal ulcers and other eye infections. Beach or pool water is home to many bacteria’s that can cause infections. There is one infection, which is caused by a group of microorganisms called Amebae, that is particularly dangerous and can lead to severe damage to the eye, and for which swimming with contact lenses on is a serious risk factor.

5) Wear Sunglasses when outdoors:
Increased exposure to UV rays can damage the macula, which is located near the center of the retina and is responsible for central vision and color vision. Wearing sunglasses during the summer is crucial to shield your eyes from harmful UV rays, which can damage the macula and impair vision. You should opt for sunglasses with full UV protection to prevent photokeratitis and other eye conditions. This simple precaution helps maintaining healthy vision and reduces eye strain from bright sunlight.

6) Keep your eyes hydrated:
With the rising temperatures people in general like to sit indoors with air conditioners on at really low temperatures. This makes the atmosphere around the room cold and dry, which leads to dry eyes. Using artificial tears will help prevent dry eyes and avoid any potential discomfort caused by it.
Below are a few common questions that we get often from patients about artificial tears which may help people to use them effectively:

a) What are artificial tears?
Artificial tears are eye drops that reinforce the natural tears in your eyes, preventing them from drying out. They are akin to moisturizing cream for the skin and can be used even without discomfort to maintain a proper lubrication of the eyes.
b) Which artificial tears should I use?
Generally, preservative-free tear drops are preferable as they can be used as often as needed. There are many types available, with those containing sodium hyaluronate being particularly effective. Consult your doctor for advice on the best option for your symptoms.
c) When should I use artificial tears?
It is recommended to have artificial tears at home and use them when engaging in near vision activities like using mobile phones, computers, or reading. Frequent use, even before symptoms start, helps in preventing discomfort. For preservative-free eye drops, use them as often as needed, such as every hour when working with a computer, increasing the frequency if necessary. For drops with preservatives, limit usage to 3 or 4 times a day as advised by your ophthalmologist.
d) Using artificial tears with contact lenses:
Most preservative-free artificial tears can generally be used with contact lenses but ensure proper cleaning of lenses to avoid infections.
e) Debunking false myths:
Some patients mistakenly believe that using artificial tears will stop the natural production of tears, but this is not true. Just as moisturizer does not change the skin’s characteristics, artificial tears do not alter natural tear production. They actually help with preventing problems and complications from dry eye.
Summer holidays are a good time to engage with family and friends, however, making sure our vision is not compromised through the process is highly essential too. Dr. Borja Salvador Culla, Consultant in Ophthalmology, Barraquer Eye Hospital, U.A.E emphasizes the importance of the above tips to help protect your eyes and maintain their health during the hot summer months.