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10 Eye-Opening Summer Hacks for Dry Eye Relief: Beat the Heat and Soothe Your Eyes

It looks like summer might be here at last – make sure your dry eyes enjoy it too!

10 Summer hacks for dry eye sufferers

It looks like the rain might have finally stopped and the sun is now coming out. The summer months can be a challenging time if you suffer from dry eyes, but Dry Eye Zone is here to help with lots of simple practical advice. Make sure your dry eyes stay cool, comfortable and looking their sparkling best this summer.


During the next few months temperatures will rise, the sun gets brighter and the air becomes dryer. These factors when combined together make it more likely that moisture is lost from the surface of the eye which can leave dry eye sufferers with more severe symptoms than usual. Although we love those warming rays they can potentially be a nightmare for dry eyes.


Here are 10 summer hacks for dry eye to help your dry eyes stay cool this summer:

  1. Beat the itch

Perhaps the single most important piece of advice is to keep your dry eye drops at the ready. You need to be using them far more frequently to replenish lost moisture and flush-out pollen or other irritants -  but here is the game-changer – use your eye drops BEFORE you feel the itch! The reason for this advice is because once the allergic or inflammatory reaction has started it can escalate, you then need to break the ‘vicious cycle’ to relieve the symptoms. This is true for both dry eye and allergic eye irritations like hay fever. By keeping them moist your eyes have their best chance of staying comfortable.


2. Be cool

This is one of the favourite Dry Eye Zone pieces of advice, because it is so easy to do and the results feel so soothing on the eye. Always have a bottle of your favourite dry eye drops in the fridge. This way when you return home you can immediately refresh your eyes.

Common dry eye symptoms are hot, burning eyes, these symptoms are often made worse in the summer with the double threat of hay fever. To rapidly cool your eyes down why not treat yourself to a hay fever and allergy relief cold eye compress, this will bring instant relief to hot eyes by reducing irritation and swelling.


3. High pollen level – be prepared

Hay fever is an allergic reaction to pollen. The UK season expends throughout the entire summer period, first trees, then grass and finally weed pollen is released into the atmosphere. The inflammatory reaction experienced by hay fever sufferers is the same as that faced by those with dry eye, so if you are unfortunate enough to experience both conditions the summer time can be a tough going. It is well worth staying on top of the situation by having a look at the pollen levels in your area. The Met Office provides a 5-day pollen forecast for the UK. It may not always be possible to avoid going out but being prepared with dry eye drops at the ready will certainly help.


4. Invest in good quality sunglasses Your sunnies are not just a stylish addition to your summer wardrobe, they also provide important protection for dry eyes exposed to sun, wind, dry air or pollen. Sunglasses are particularly effective if they have a wraparound design or wider ‘arms’ as they give a more effective barrier to the elements which can speed up moisture loss from the eye. Larger designs will work better than smaller ones for the same reason. Wearing your sunglasses more, even on a windy overcast day, will help give extra protection for your eyes.

You should also ask your eye care professional about the quality of lenses needed in sunglasses to protect your eyes from the damaging impact of sunlight. There is a British standard for sunglasses which you should look out for (BS EN ISO 12312-1) but your optician will be able to advise you.


5. Dry air alert

As the temperature rises the air can become dryer, this means the rate at which moisture is lost from the eye speeds up, the result can be more severe dry eye symptoms. Researchers have shown there is a correlation between the incidence of dry eye and low humidity (dry air) countries. Other studies concluding that low humidity should be avoided by dry eye sufferers.

To combat this try to make your environment more comfortable by using a humidifier to help slow down tear evaporation. Having good ventilation will also help achieve this. Something to consider is introducing some house plants to your home. As well as looking lovely they are work as nature’s own humidifiers.

The increased temperatures might tempt you into airconditioned environments, but these can be very compromising to dry eyes. It is better to avoid too aggressive air-conditioning.

6. Be flight ready

It pays to be prepared if flying this summer. The airline cabin conditions will speed-up tear evaporation and the onset of dry eye symptoms. And that is even before you settle down to watch an in-flight movie, an activity which slows blink-rates making your natural moisture replenishment even worse.

To reduce drying of the tear film consider wearing your glasses rather than contact lenses, you might even want to put on your sunglasses for a bit of extra protection. But before you do anything pop in some dry eye drops to boost your natural moisture, keep the drops to hand so you can give yourself a top-up during the flight.

If you are on a long flight then you might want to put your hot eye compress in your cabin bag for a mid-flight pamper so your eyes feel refreshed on arrival. This has been made possible by self-heating masks such as TearRestore or battery operated devices such as the Peep Club Heated Eye Wand PRO or the iFlo USB Heating Eye Compress.

7. Avoid too much alcohol

There are lots of health reasons for avoiding alcohol but an investigation into ten separate studies suggests that alcohol consumption may be a significant risk factor for dry eye. The researchers concluded that controlling alcohol consumption may help to reduce dry eye.

8. Summer foods

It is a great time to enjoy more fresh oily fish than usual. This ‘Mediterranean’ style diet is rich in Omega-3 and has anti-inflammatory properties, particularly helpful as dry eye is considered an inflammatory condition.

9. Think before you dive into the pool

Many pools will still be using chlorine to maintain hygiene. Chlorine can be very irritating for anyone’s eye, much more a dry eye sufferer, by washing away the aqueous layer of the tear film. So avoid red irritated eyes by packing googles. Salt water can be a problem too and can cause stinging so wear googles when swimming in the sea too.

Dry Eye Zone would recommend you use an eye drop straight after swimming to help wash way potential irritants which might have been present in the water.


10. Be prepared - never leave home without your dry eye drops

If you are planning a well-deserved break this summer make sure you take your dry eye treatment products with you - it may not be easy or even possible to find your dry eye products when travelling. The Dry Eye Zone team cannot stress more the need to take your dry eye drops, hot compresses and eyelid cleaners with you – in fact make sure you take everything your eye care professional has advised to prevent your dry eye becoming a holiday party-pooper!

You can find more information about dry eye and its management at Dry Eye Zone.


And don’t forget to subscribe to the regular free information updates Dry Eye Zone offers.

If you are experiencing dry eye symptoms then you should ask the advice of your eye care professional. Why not book your next eye examination with an independent optician today.

Sources:Erich J. Berg; Gui-shuang Ying; Maureen G. Maguire; Perry E. Sheffield; Loretta B. Szczotka-Flynn; Penny A. Asbell; Joanne F. Shen; the DREAM Study Research Group. Climatic and Environmental Correlates of Dry Eye Disease Severity: A Report From the Dry Eye Assessment and Management (DREAM) Study. Translational Vision Science & Technology April 2020, Vol.9, 25. doi: R; EMO Research Group. Symptoms of dry eye related to the relative humidity of living places. Cont Lens Anterior Eye. 2023 Aug;46(4):101865. doi: 10.1016/j.clae.2023.101865. Epub 2023 May 17. PMID: 37208284.


Tandon R, Vashist P, Gupta N, Gupta V, Sahay P, Deka D, Singh S, Vishwanath K, Murthy GVS. Association of dry eye disease and sun exposure in geographically diverse adult (≥40 years) populations of India: The SEED (sun exposure, environment and dry eye disease) study - Second report of the ICMR-EYE SEE study group. Ocul Surf. 2020 Oct;18(4):718-730. doi: 10.1016/j.jtos.2020.07.016. Epub 2020 Aug 9. PMID: 32783926.


Nguyen L, Magno MS, Utheim TP, Jansonius NM, Hammond CJ, Vehof J. The relationship between habitual water intake and dry eye disease. Acta Ophthalmol. 2023 Feb;101(1):65-73. doi: 10.1111/aos.15227. Epub 2022 Aug 8. PMID: 35941821; PMCID: PMC10087849.


You YS, Qu NB, Yu XN. Alcohol consumption and dry eye syndrome: a Meta-analysis. Int J Ophthalmol. 2016 Oct 18;9(10):1487-1492. doi: 10.18240/ijo.2016.10.20. PMID: 27803869; PMCID: PMC5075667.


Marta C. O'Grady, OD, FAAO. Preparation is key to fighting dry eye while traveling. Optometry Times Journal.

Jul 12, 2022


Wu Z, Begley CG, Port N, Bradley A, Braun R, King-Smith E. The effects of increasing ocular surface stimulation on blinking and tear secretion. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2015;56(8):4211-4220. doi:10.1167/iovs.14-16313

Linetsky M, Raghavan CT, Johar K, Fan X, Monnier VM, Vasavada AR, Nagaraj RH. UVA light-excited kynurenines oxidize ascorbate and modify lens proteins through the formation of advanced glycation end products: implications for human lens aging and cataract formation. J Biol Chem. 2014 Jun 13;289(24):17111-23. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M114.554410. Epub 2014 May 5. PMID: 24798334; PMCID: PMC4059152.


Kierstan Boyd and reviewed By Dr J Kevin McKinney, Dr Natasha L Herz . What You Should Know About Swimming and Your Eyes. American Academy of Ophthalmology. 16 August 2016.




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