There are many reasons to love fall: bonfires, apple picking, hayrides, pumpkin pie, and even simply breathing in the crisp autumn air. Along with these delights, fall can also bring dry eyes, allergies, and other eye irritants. Luckily, there are steps you can take to keep your eyes happy and healthy so that you can enjoy the season to the fullest.

Keep your eyes moist

Autumn’s cooler, drier weather can leave your eyes feeling dried out and irritated. To prevent dry eyes, stay away from overly-warm rooms (artificial heating can dry out your eyes even more than the air outside), wind, and hair dryers whenever possible. Of course, those can be difficult to avoid, so it is wise to keep a small bottle of artificial tears with you for an extra dose of moisture.

Shield yourself from allergens

The best way to protect your eyes from seasonal allergies is to avoid the airborne allergens that lead to unpleasant symptoms. That does not mean you are stuck inside until winter. You can shield your eyes from allergens by wearing glasses or sunglasses. It also helps to drive with the windows up, because nobody wants to deal with irritated eyes while they are driving.

Keep wearing those sunglasses

As the temperature drops, many people will cast their sunglasses aside. However, you should absolutely keep wearing your sunglasses in the fall. Even when it is grey and cloudy outside, UV rays can still penetrate through the clouds and cause damage to unprotected eyes.

Wear eye protection while doing yard work

As with any yard work, you should always wear protective eye gear as you rake or blow leaves. Otherwise, you run the risk of getting plant material in your eyes, which can lead to infection. If you plan to decorate your yard with jack-o-lanterns, make sure your eyes are protected while you carve.

Don’t let eye injuries be your Halloween scare

Some Halloween costumes include accessories that if misused could potentially cause an eye injury. Talk to your children about the proper way to use and hold their broomsticks, swords, wands, and lightsabers. If their costume involves fake fingernails, remind them not to touch their eyes and to keep their hands away from other people’s faces.

Use caution with costume contact lenses

If you are determined to get your costume just right, down to the exact eye color, we strongly advise that you stay away from non-prescription costume contact lenses. Colored contact lenses you find in regular stores and online stores are not safe or legal. Non-prescription contact lenses can be non-sterile, ill-fitting, and can cause painful and sometimes blinding eye infections. To get the colored contact lenses that are right for you, you should have an eye exam and get properly fitted for your contact lenses. The doctor will give you a prescription that includes a brand name, correct measurements, and an expiration date. Get this prescription filled and stay away from contact lenses you find at beauty stores, costume stores, or anywhere else that might sell non-prescription, non-FDA-approved contact lenses.

Reap the benefits of fall’s eye-friendly food                    

Take advantage of everything fall offers by feasting on the season’s fruits and vegetables, which happen to be rich in vitamin C, vitamin A, and other nutrients that are excellent for eye health. Be sure to eat your fill of apples, pomegranates, pears, pumpkin, squash, turnips, and cauliflower. You can enjoy the taste and your eyes will reap the rewards.

Photo by Gabby Orcutt on Unsplash

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