Our eyes rely on a constant supply of tear film to stay healthy. Made from a combination of water, oil, and proteins, the tear film is released by the glands around our eyes every time we blink. Without adequate lubrication, our eyes aren’t only dry, irritated, sore, and uncomfortable. They are also more prone to developing infections. Therefore, it is important to take steps to provide your eyes with adequate moisture if you are found to suffer from dry eyes.
Dry eyes are usually caused because there isn’t enough natural tear film being produced, or because it evaporates too quickly. The condition can occur at any time, but experts agree that symptoms tend to be worse in summer. Here’s why.
Summer nearly always sees people spending more time outdoors than they would do normally. It’s great to get out in the sunlight and soak up that vitamin D, but unless you take proactive steps to protect your eyes, you could be putting them at risk of a number of problems. UV damage affects our eyes in a variety of ways, one of which is causing tear film to evaporate more quickly, and these can cause the symptoms of dry eyes.
Unsurprisingly, summer also sees us becoming increasingly reliant on air-conditioning, both at the office and at home. Air conditioners may make the environment more comfortable, but they also suck humidity out of it, reducing the level of moisture in the air, and, in our eyes. This can trigger the symptoms of dry eyes, particularly if we are also spending time staring at screens. This is because we naturally blink much less when concentrating on a digital device, meaning our eyes aren’t being prompted to make as many tears as usual
Cookouts and campfires are some of the best things about the summer months, but while they are great fun, they also cause a great deal of smoke. Not only is smoke bad for your lungs, but it is also a very common cause of eye irritation, which can in turn lead to dry eyes. Try and stay a reasonable distance from the smoke to minimize its effects on you.
We also tend to go swimming more in the summer months, when a refreshing dip in the pool is just what we need to cool off from the hot sun. However, if you use a pool regularly you need to be mindful of the effect it could be having on your eyes. Any water has the potential to introduce bacteria to your eyes, but while chorine keeps your pool clean, it is also a chemical that can irritate your eyes and worsen dry eye symptoms. Be smart and wear eye protection whenever you are in the water.
If you are experiencing dry eye and would like help and advice on what you can do to alleviate your symptoms, please don’t hesitate to make an appointment with our eye care team who will assess your eyes and support you in managing your condition.