Even though it is the middle of spring, it is never too early to begin prepping for summer! You hear it all the time, swimsuit season is coming! It is the final stretch to improve your general health and get into shape. While that is important, don’t forget to guarantee your eyes are happy in order to see and get the most out of your summer plans. Follow our top ten tips to get your eyes in shape for this upcoming summer below!

1. Avoid swimmer’s eye
When the weather is hot, the best way to stay cool often involves swimming. Your eyes are coated with a natural film called the tear film which protects your eyes by keeping them clear and moist. Chemicals such as chlorine used to keep pool water clean, can irritate your eyes and wash away the natural tear film causing eyes to be red and irritated. To prevent this, make sure to use watertight goggles with a strong seal while swimming in any body of water.

2. Don’t get burned
Your skin is not the only thing that can sunburn. If you are laying on the beach or in the pool, it is important to wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from harmful UV rays. Water is known to reflect ten to twenty percent of ultraviolet rays which can make the eyes and skin more subjective to sunburn. Symptoms may include blurriness, itchiness, redness, and light sensitivity. Just like a typical skin sunburn, your eyes will begin to feel better within a few days and there is no immediate danger. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms do not rub your eyes, take a day to stay inside and recover from the sun exposure, refrain from wearing contact lenses, and call your eye doctor to make an appointment to get your eyes checked. Repetitive sun exposure could cause cancer, cataracts, pterygium, macular degeneration, or chronic dry eye.

3. Wear Sunglasses
Just like sunscreen, not all sunglasses are the same. They are great for accessorizing your summer looks; however, there is a chance they may not be providing as much sun protection as you think. Your eyes are subject to sun damage within fifteen minutes of inadequate or no UV protection. When shopping for your next pair of shades, try to look for frames that fully wrap around the eyes to block light rays from all angles, lenses that are polarized and include anti-reflective treatment on the back and UV protection along the front. If the UV protection blocks under 98% against UVA and UVB rays, keep searching! Ideally, the best protection blocks 99.9% or more UV rays and is rated UV400 on the tag.

4. Get full coverage
It is no secret that the sun can cause premature aging to the skin. When it comes to sunglasses, they can do more than just provide protection to the eyes. Larger frames that wrap around the face can provide more surface area coverage and protection for the eyelids and surrounding skin. Wearing hats and sunscreen can add an extra layer of protection for the skin surrounding the eyes and can help to prevent skin cancer, fine lines, and wrinkles later down the road.

5. Eat healthy and drink water
Carrots are great, but they are not the only source of nutrients for your eyes! Foods that are rich in antioxidants such as blueberries, cranberries, strawberries, and spinach can help to reduce the risk of eye diseases like macular degeneration and the onset of cataracts. Foods with orange hues like carrots, sweet potato, and pumpkins can give humans a source of vitamin A which helps the retina to function properly. Omega-3 fatty acids included in foods like salmon, tuna, and flaxseed are also great to combat dry eye and protect the tear film.

In addition to a healthy diet, staying hydrated can play a large impact on eye health during the summer months! Dehydration can lead to severe dry eyes, strain, and vision problems. To avoid this, ensure you are drinking plenty of water throughout the day as well as before and after exercising.

6. Get enough sleep
Sleep is important for the mind and body; however, it plays a large factor in and around the eye area. In mild cases of sleep deprivation, you may notice dark circles and puffiness. Lack of sleep can also lead to dry, itchy, bloodshot eyes, spasms, and twitching throughout the day. Because sleep is crucial for your health, continuous sleep deprivation can lead to severe eye diseases like glaucoma, or worse, complete loss of vision. To stay clear of these side effects, make sure to aim for at least eight hours of quality sleep a night to ensure your eyes a chance to rest! They need it as they are on their “A game” 24/7!

7. Avoid dry eyes
The summer months can easily trigger the use of sunscreen and the accumulation of sweat. In addition to makeup, bacteria, and dirt, these elements can come together to clog your pores and eyelid glands that normally help to keep the eyes moist. Dry eye symptoms can include light sensitivity, redness, watery eyes, irritation, and discomfort. To prevent dry eyes, make sure to wash your hands prior to touching your face throughout the day and wash your face at night to prevent unnecessary build up around the eye area.

8. Get away from the smoke
Not only is smoke bad for the lungs, but it is bad for the eyes! During the summer months, exposure to smoke from cigarettes, outdoor barbeques, and campfires increase. Smoke can irritate the eyes and cause severe dry eye as well as expedite some eye diseases such as cataracts or macular degeneration. If you or someone you know is a smoker or exposed to excessive amounts of smoke, it is recommended to refrain from smoking, use over the counter and preservative free artificial tears to combat dry eye symptoms, stay inside, and wear protective eyewear if outdoors and there is smoke in close vicinity.

9. Safety
Summertime brings more time to play outside as well as the higher chance of sports-related injuries. On average, there are more than 42,000 sports-related eye injuries in the emergency room each year. Remember, “safety starts with me.” Save your sight on the field or on the court by using proper eye protection. Whether you are swimming, playing sports, or working outside or around the house, proper eye care should be a top priority to save your sight from accidents occurring.

10. Timing is everything
Sunshine is a great source for providing energy for vitamin D production; however, during the summer months, the sun peaks between 10am and 3pm where the UV rays are the strongest and can cause the most damage to your eyes and surrounding skin. It is recommended to avoid direct exposure to the sun during this time period by staying inside. If you must be outside, seek shade when possible, wear a hat, sunscreen, sunglasses, and never look directly at the sun to prevent damage to the retina.

It’s the right time for clearer vision

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