Summer is Here: How To Look After Your Eyes
Whether your plan is to sip pina coladas on the beach in Cancun or sunbathe with the cat in the back garden, you always want to look you’re best during the summer months.
Or, at the very least, you don’t want to look bad i.e. not forgetting to put factor 50 on those rosy cheeks or getting too ambitious and going for the strappy monokini.
Although you may not have thought about it before, one great way you can help maintain your dignity and look great is by looking after your eyes. Just think, a pair of glamorous, glowing eyes can brighten up any outfit. And a pair of red, puffy, irritated eyes is enough to ruin any, as well as your week.
On top of that, by prioritising the health of your peepers, you safeguard your vision for today, tomorrow, and the years to come. Meaning those reading glasses can stay on the shelf a little while longer — if not forever.
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That’s enough talk; let’s get into the top ways to look after your eyes now that summer is here, the sun is shining, and you’re ready to soak it all in.
1. UV protection
If you do anything for your eyes this summer, shield them behind a pair of shades that offer 100 percent UVA and UVB ray protection.
As light can also enter through the delicate skin around your eyes and damage them, make sure they’re a big pair, too (Luckily oversized glasses never go out of fashion). If you really want to go all out and get a gold star for eye and skin protection, also grab yourself a wide-brimmed hat with UPF 50+ built in.
2. In the Pool
Everyone likes to be able to shed a tear every now and again, whether at a funeral or the cinema. But swimming pools can often be ladened with harsh chemicals, and you’ll quickly find your eyes are left feeling sore and looking red, this can strip back the natural 3-layers of tear film which helps to hydrate, cleanse and protect your eyes from bacteria.
As your eyes need a fully functioning tear film to stay protected, without enough moisture, they’re exposed to the elements and are at higher risk of irritation and infection. The answer: strap on the goggles when heading to the pool and splash your closed eyes with cold water immediately afterwards.
3. The Climate
Particularly when we Brits go abroad for a few weeks, we want to get the most out of the good weather we can. To do this, we need to be aware that our bodies simply aren’t used to hot, dry climates and thus need protection in many more ways than one.
Other than UV protection, that means packing a pair of wraparound sunglasses for really sunny days — especially if at risk of glare from sand or snow. You should also pack a bottle of preservative-free artificial tears to keep your eyes moist and comfortable when on a plane, on the beach, in air conditioning, or wherever you may be.
Suprise surprise, your eyes and tears are mainly made of water. But as the water you drink goes through the intestines, gets absorbed by the bloodstream, is filtered by your kidneys, and then goes to hydrate all the cells of the body, you need to drink a lot of it to see the benefit.
The fact is, most of us don’t drink enough anyway. And in the summer, when the climate is hotter and drier than usual, we need to take in even more. Aim for at least two litres of filtered water a day (your kidneys will thank you) — and make sure to pack a flask whenever heading to the pool or beach.
This point is more general eye care advice that you should follow all year round. But it bears mentioning here as once summer comes around, the last thing you want is to be stuck indoors or hiding behind dark shades because you have conjunctivitis or blepharitis.
Your eyes have many lines of defences against infection — eyebrows to capture sweat, eyelashes to catch dust, eyelids to shield from incoming objects, and a 3-layer tear film to filter fine particles and fight harmful bacteria. But if your immune system isn’t up to the job and you’re low on essential vitamins and minerals, sometimes they’re not enough to keep your eyes safe.
Other than drinking plenty of water, eating well, and getting lots of high-quality sleep, the number one piece of advice to avoid eye infections is to quit smoking. Smoking not only weakens your immune system but increases the chances of dry eye and diseases like cataracts and macular degeneration. Stopping smoking is, then, the best thing you can do for your eyes, not to mention your long-term health.