Enjoy your summer holiday – but don’t forget your dry eyes will be coming too.
Summer holidays are meant to be fun and a well earnt chance to relax and unwind. But don’t forget dry eye disease does not take a break and that some aspects of your vacation can be a trigger for your dry eye symptoms. You may find yourself facing environmental changes, such as hotter or dryer air, which if not prepared for may detract from the enjoyment of your holiday.
Dry Eye Zone has compiled 5 dry eye friendly holiday tips to help you keep your eyes feeling and looking their best this summer season.
1. 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 or dry air. 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.
2. Be flight ready
When you sit back ready for take-off you might already be feeling the impact of the fierce air-conditioning blowing into your eyes. These airline cabin conditions will have the impact of speeding up tear evaporation and the onset of dry eye symptoms. And that is 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.
3. 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.
Food and drink is an important part of any holiday experience so the good news for dry eye sufferers is if you are near the sea you might be able 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.
For general health make sure you stay well hydrated as hotter environments can take you by surprise. Overall, hydration as a factor to work on for dry eye improvements but a recent large-scale study involving over 50,000 people has called this advice into question. Hydration is essential for good health overall but additional water consumption did not show the expected dry eye benefits.
4. 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 less 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.
5. Never leave home without your dry eye drops
It may not be easy or possible to find your dry eye products when travelling so make sure you take them with you. 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!
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.
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.
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