As the weather gets warmer and your thoughts turn to improving your health and enjoying the outdoors, it is also important to keep your eyes happy this summer.
We all know that regular exercise can tone muscle, support weight loss and benefit your mental health, but did you know it can also help to maintain your eye health?
Keeping your eyes safe and healthy this summer is just as important as taking part in physical activity. Scientists say regular exercise can now reduce the risk of eye diseases like cataracts, glaucoma and macular degeneration.
So, as you prepare to get outside and soak up the sun, here are our 6 top tips on how to improve your eye health this summer. And remember, if you need some advice on eye care, we’re always here to help.
UV rays are bad for our skin, but they’re just as harmful to our eyes. Protecting your eyes from the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays is very important. When buying a pair of sunglasses, look for the ones that block out 99 to 100 per cent of both UVA and UVB radiation and are CE marked – this means they meet the European Standard for sun protection.
Over exposure to the sun can contribute to many different eye conditions including cataracts, macular degeneration, pterygium – which may also be known as ‘Surfer’s eye’, and photokeratitis, which is sunburn of the eye.
Pterygium is a grown on your cornea, which affects the white part of the surface of the eye. It is known as ‘Surfer’s eye’ as this condition can be caused by being in bright sunlight for too long – especially when you are on water and UV rays are being reflected.
In severe cases, it can change the curve of the eyeball which can cause astigmatism or get in the way of vision.
We stock sunglasses for both adults and children and our range of children’s sunglasses are fully polarised with 100 per cent UV protection. For adults, we stock a range of Maui Jim sunglasses which are fully polarised and contain colour technology within the lenses to enhance the true colours in the environment.
2. Keep fit
Exercising can improve eye health. Over the last decade, several studies have found a link between regular exercise and reducing the risk of eye diseases like cataracts, glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration.
Scientists believe that while exercise may not directly affect your eyesight, it may help other health issues like diabetes which can otherwise damage the blood vessels of the retina and lead to diabetic retinopathy.
High blood pressure can also lead to eye disease and that’s why working out three to five times a week can really help to keep your health on track.
And did you know? Moderate but regular, low-impact exercise could significantly reduce eye pressure in young adults with glaucoma. So, when the sun’s out, why not take a stroll in the park or get on a bike and enjoy the outdoors. And if you love sport, there’s no better time for a game or footy, a round of golf or a tennis tournament.
Smoking harms nearly every organ in your body – including your eyes.
Just one cigarette a day can increase your risk of heart disease and cancer, but sight-threatening eye problems are generally less well-known. Smokers significantly increase their risk of developing a cataract compared with non-smokers. Studies show that people who smoke DOUBLE their chance of forming them.
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) affects the centre of the retina, which is responsible for giving you clear vision. Smoking increases the risk of this by FOUR times.
Macular degeneration causes ‘blind spots’ and can lead to permanent sight loss. And if this isn’t bad enough, smoking also harms the vital structure of the eye including the iris and the retina.
But it’s not all bad news. Quit smoking this summer and you’ll immediately reduce your risk of developing age-related macular degeneration.
4. Be safe outdoors
The summer months usually mean spending more time outside – catching up on outdoor projects, socialising with friends or simply soaking up the sun.
Whether you’re mowing the lawn or playing sports, wearing proper protective eyewear is of paramount importance.
More than half of all eye injuries happen at home and figures suggest only about one in three people wear the proper eye protection.
Safety glasses can reduce the risk of a potential eye injury. You need to be protecting your eyes when you’re working on home improvement projects, using sharp tools or dealing with hazardous chemicals. Don’t be an eye injury statistic this summer.
Long, warmer days can mean only one thing – it’s summer! It’s time to celebrate the outdoors and enjoy the lighter nights. But for hayfever sufferers, summer is not a walk in the park. It can bring weeks of misery and suffering.
Hayfever is a common allergic condition caused by pollen. It is more often caused by wind-pollinated plants like trees, grass and weeds. If you’re suffering now (May – July) grass cuttings are probably the reason for your pain.
If your immune system is sensitive, your body releases chemicals called histamines which are the cause of an allergic reaction that affects the eyes, making them water and itch.
Our two tips for combatting hayfever including wearing wrap around sunglasses when you are outdoors as they will help to block some particles from getting to the eye and reduce irritation.
We also advise using eyedrops to help relieve symptoms and act as a protective barrier which we have in stock. For more information on hayfever, have a read of our blog Hay Fever and Your Eyes.
6. Dry eye
Spending time outside when it’s hot, dry or windy can irritate a common condition called dry eye. The warm weather and dry environment can affect the tear film which dries out the eye’s surface.
If you want to protect your eyes in these conditions, eyedrops to create artificial tears can lubricate dry eyes. Sufferers of dry eye can experience eye redness, itchiness and watering. If you wear contact lenses, you may also have dry eyes during the warmer weather when in air-conditioned areas.
Blepharitis often goes hand in hand with dry eye and can be assessed when you have an eye examination. This is where debris can build up in the eyelashes and lead to flaky and sore, irritated eyes and eyelids.
Here at Richard Petrie, we offer customers our BlephEx treatment, which can help to make your eyes feel more comfortable and get rid of any dry or flaky debris that may have built up in your eyelashes or in the corner of your eyes.
The Blepharitis treatment is designed to reduce the inflammation and improve your overall eyelid health. Book here to receive your Blepharitis treatment or to book an eye test with us.