How to protect your eyes during summer

Most of us realise we have to protect our skin from strong sunlight during the warmer months of the year.

However it’s essential to protect our eyes too. After all, it’s normal to spend more time outdoors when it’s warm outside. But exposing eyes to bright sunlight has been linked with the development of eye diseases such as cataracts, macular degeneration and eye cancers.

Protecting your eyes means wearing good-quality sunglasses. This doesn’t mean you have to spend a fortune on an expensive pair. Just look out for sunglasses that carry the CE Mark and British Standard BS EN ISO 12312-1:2013, as this confirms they offer a safe level of protection against the sun’s UV rays. Also the darker the shade of the lens, the higher the level of protection – so opt for a pair with dark brown lenses rather than one with lighter coloured lenses.

If you wear prescription glasses to improve your vision, it may be a good idea to consider asking your optician to make a pair of prescription sunglasses for the summer months too, especially if you tend to spend lots of time outdoors. Or you may prefer to invest in a pair of glasses with lenses that change colour when you’re in a brighter environment – called photochromic lenses – as this means you don’t have to keep swapping your glasses over when you go outside or back indoors.

Try to wear a wide-brimmed hat when you’re out in strong sunlight too – children, in particular, should always have sunglasses and a sun hat on when they play in the sun. 

There are several other things that may affect your eyes during the summer months too, including the following:

Hay fever   If you have hay fever, your eyes may feel itchy and become watery and swollen – which isn’t going to help you look your best. Avoiding exposing yourself to pollen can help, so try to stay indoors when the pollen count is high and make sure your windows and doors are closed too. When you have to go outside, wearing a pair of wrap-around sunglasses may particularly helpful, as they could protect your eyes from airborne pollen particles. Also ask your Careway pharmacist to recommend hay fever medicines, such as antihistamines and medicated eye drops, that may help relieve your symptoms.

Water sports   Taking a dip in the pool can also irritate your eyes, thanks to chemicals such as chlorine that are used to treat the water. If this is a particular problem for you, consider using goggles to prevent any water making contact with your eyes. If, on the other hand, you normally wear contact lenses, the College of Optometrists recommends removing them before swimming, showering or using a hot tub, as wearing lenses increases your risk of contracting an eye infection caused by bugs in the water.

If you want to boost your eye health, make sure you eat healthy and drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration during hot weather. Certain foods contain nutrients that are thought to boost your eyesight, particularly many brightly coloured fruits and vegetables that are widely available during the summer months. Also ask your local Careway pharmacist about supplements designed to maintain healthy vision.

Find your nearest Careway pharmacy by using our Pharmacy Finder.