When you have chronic dry eye, your body doesn’t produce enough tears to keep the eye properly moisturized. In some cases, dry eye can also mean that you can generate tears, but they aren’t of high enough quality to adequately keep your eyes from drying out.
Dr. Tanya Lau, OD, specializes in treating a variety of chronic eye conditions, including dry eye. With the warmer weather of summer on the horizon, it’s important to pay attention to your eye health to prevent complications, like infections and permanent damage to your eyes, common with chronic dry eye.
Even though summer may cause fewer problems with dry eye than the cold months of winter, Dr. Lau recommends the following tips for keeping your eyes well-moisturized and in good health this summer:
If you aren’t drinking enough water every day, especially during the summer months, symptoms of dry eye can get worse.
Not only are you at increased risk for eye problems, not staying properly hydrated during the hot months of summer can cause other health complications, such as heat stroke and organ failure.
Wear protective sunglasses
Wearing sunglasses with ultraviolet (UV) ray protection protects your eyes from damaged caused by the sun and can protect your vision.
Sunglasses can also block out dust, sand, and other debris that can blow into your eye, further irritating your dry eye condition. Dust and other materials may also scratch the surface of your eye, leading to even more serious eye damage.
Avoid sitting in the direct path of fans
When it’s hot outside, it’s natural to want to sit near the closest fan or air conditioner. However, exposure to constant air movement can cause dryness, discomfort, and even ongoing pain.
If you need to cool down, keep the air flow at your back and away from your eyes. If you’re in the car, point your vents downward to help you stay cool without drying out your eyes.
Follow instructions for dry eye medications
If Dr. Lau recommends the use of artificial tears or a prescription medication to treat dry eyes, be sure to use it as she suggests.
During the summertime, you’re busy with activities and travel. It can be easy to forget to use medications as directed or to pack them in your suitcase when going on vacation. Missing your regular doses of medicated eye drops can cause eye dryness to worsen.
Make a point to keep extra bottles of artificial tears on hand, so you always have access to moisturizers when your eyes become dry and irritated.
Ask about dietary supplements
What you eat can influence the symptoms of dry eye. You can discuss dietary options to promote good eye health with Dr. Lau. She can recommend healthy foods and possibly supplements that contain omega-3 fatty acids, which can improve chronic eye dryness.
Pay attention to contact care
If you wear contacts, it’s important that you always take care to handle them properly. Depending on the type of lenses you wear, you should follow Dr. Lau’s instructions for cleaning and disinfecting them daily.
Before you go in the pool or head to the beach, consider swapping your lenses for prescription sunglasses to prevent contacts from drying out, which can further irritate dry eye.
It’s also important that you remove your contacts as needed. Unless you’re wearing extended wear lenses that you can sleep in, make sure you’re taking your contacts out every night before you sleep.
If you need help managing your dry eye symptoms, schedule a consultation with Dr. Lau today. You can book an appointment online or by calling the office.