Summertime Tips for Chronic Dry Eye

The weather is heating up, and chances are you’re looking forward to relaxing in the air conditioning, hitting the pool, and enjoying all the outdoor activities that come with the summer season. If you have chronic dry eye, there are a few simple precautions you can take to make sure you don’t end up dealing with symptoms and missing out on the fun.

The first thing you should know is that, for most people, the symptoms of dry eye are lessened in the summer compared to other seasons. That’s because environmental factors, like the level of humidity, amount of wind, and the temperature, impact how your eyes function.

In the northeastern part of the United States, particularly, winters are often dry, cold, and windy — all conditions that exacerbate the symptoms of dry eye. That doesn’t mean there are not situations that could aggravate your eyes in the summer. Here are some tips for navigating summer when you have chronic dry eye.

Air conditioning

AC feels great in the summer! Most of us can’t imagine living without it. But, it can certainly dry out your eyes.

When you’re in the car, make sure the vents are not blowing toward your face. At home, you may want to consider running a cool-air humidifier to add moisture to the air.

Swimming

There’s nothing that quite compares to spending a beautiful summer day poolside. But, if you have chronic dry eye, there’s a good chance that the chemicals used to keep the pool clean irritate your eyes. Similarly, swimming in the ocean, a river, or a lake can expose your eyes to irritants.

The solution is surprisingly simple: swim goggles. Invest in a pair of goggles that fit well. Your eyes will be protected, and you can swim all you want.

Sunshine

Everyone should wear eye protection when they’re going to be in the summer sun. But, if you have chronic dry eye, it’s even more important. Choose sunglasses with UV protection, and consider a style that wraps around to provide even more protection.

Sunscreen

You need sunscreen. Don’t skip it. But, if you have chronic dry eye, you need to be very careful about making sure your sunscreen doesn’t get in your eyes. Choosing a stick instead of a cream, lotion, or spray type can help.

You should also be careful to wash your hands carefully after applying sunscreen, and consider keeping some water-based wipes on hand to clean your eyes. Wiping your eyelids can keep debris from getting in and causing irritation.

Smoke

More fun outside might mean more barbeques, bonfires, and marshmallow roasts, all of which create smoke, which can irritate your eyes. Stay away from the smoke and protect your eyes!

If you have specific questions about dealing with chronic dry eye, in the summer or any other time of year, book an appointment by phone or online at Cooper Eye Center. Our experts are ready to answer your questions!

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