With the arrival of summer, it's crucial to pay special attention to the health and well-being of our eyes. To ensure optimal eye care during this season, we have consulted Dr. Naomie Warner, a renowned Pediatric Ophthalmologist at Nevada Eye Physicians. Dr. Warner specializes in pediatric eye conditions and is dedicated to providing expert advice for maintaining healthy eyes in the summer months.
Exposure to the sun is a significant concern during summer. Dr. Warner emphasizes that our eyes can get sunburned, a condition known as photokeratitis. Symptoms include redness, light sensitivity, and temporary vision loss. Long-term sun and UV light exposure can also lead to dryness, the formation of bumps on the conjunctiva (pinguecula), or growths over the cornea (pterygium) that can impair vision. Moreover, UV damage can affect the eyelids, potentially leading to various types of eyelid cancer. To prevent such damage, Dr. Warner advises “wearing sunglasses that offer both UVA/UVB protection or 100 percent UV 400 protection. Look for sunglasses with good UV protection and consider polarized lenses for reduced glare and eye strain.”
It's essential to replace sunglasses periodically. Dr. Warner recommends ensuring good UV protection and, if desired, considering polarized lenses for enhanced visual comfort. Dr. Warner added, “Additionally, wearing a hat, visor, or good sunglasses is crucial to protect not only the eyes but also the eyelids from excessive UV exposure.”
Eye infections, such as conjunctivitis (pink eye) and keratitis, are common during the summer months. Refraining from swimming in the same water as someone with conjunctivitis is ideal, when possible, as virus particles can survive in water and quickly transmit to others. After swimming, it is advisable to shower and wash your face to minimize the risk of infections.
Chlorine in pools can irritate the eyes, causing redness, watering, and light sensitivity. Dr. Warner advises wearing goggles when opening your eyes underwater to minimize irritation. If eye irritation occurs, flushing your eyes with clean, cool water or saline eye drops can help alleviate symptoms. Saltwater pools have a higher salt content than natural tears, which can lead to dehydration of the eyes and a burning or stinging sensation. Sea or lake water, which is untreated, poses a higher risk of viral or bacterial infections and can cause corneal swelling, particularly for contact lens wearers. To prevent these issues, Dr. Warner recommends removing contact lenses, wearing goggles, and rinsing the eyes with saline drops after swimming.
In terms of diet, incorporating omega-3 fatty acids can be beneficial for eye health during the summer. Omega-3s help reduce dry eye symptoms and prevent eyelid irritation caused by underactive oil glands. Foods rich in omega-3s include avocados, fish, nuts, soybeans, and fortified milk or eggs. Additionally, maintaining a well-rounded diet with plenty of fruits and green vegetables not only supports overall health but also promotes good eye health. Staying hydrated by drinking water regularly is also crucial for maintaining eye hydration.
Dr. Warner emphasizes that if any irritation or discomfort occurs during the summer months, it is important to consult an eye doctor to ensure it is not a more serious condition requiring medical attention.
As the summer season unfolds, let's prioritize our eye health and follow these expert tips from Dr. Naomie Warner and Nevada Eye Physicians. By protecting our eyes from the sun, practicing safe water activities, and maintaining a healthy diet, we can enjoy the summer while safeguarding our precious vision.
"Wearing a hat, visor, or good sunglasses is crucial to protect not only the eyes but also the eyelids from excessive UV exposure.”