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Taking Care of Your Eyes During Vacation

Couple on vacation wearing sunglasses

Eye Care Tips for Your Next Vacation

Are you planning a special trip this summer? Whether your vacation includes non-stop activities or lazy days on the beach, following good eye care practices will help you avoid injuries, infections, and sore, irritated eyes.

How to Keep Your Eyes Healthy During Your Vacation

During your vacation, you rely on your eyesight for many things. If your eyes are irritated or dry, the world may look a little blurry or you may develop eyestrain when you're trying to finish the latest blockbuster.

Your risk of several eye conditions may increase if you don't make eye health a priority during your vacation and throughout the year, Fortunately, following a few simple steps will help you keep your eyes comfortable and your vision clear.

Pack Your Sunglasses

Sunglasses are a must year-round, but are particularly important during the summer months. Sunglasses reduce glare and can help you avoid several eye conditions linked to sun exposure, including:

  • Cataracts. Cataracts occur when the normally clear lenses inside your eyes become cloudy.
  • Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD). AMD causes loss of central vision due to damaged cells in the macula, the center part of the retina. (The retina is a layer of light-sensing cells at the back of the eye.)
  • Skin Cancer. Sun exposure increases your risk of developing skin cancer on your eyelids.
  • Photokeratitis. Photokeratitis (sunburned corneas) can happen if you don't wear sunglasses on the beach. (The cornea is the clear, rounded tissue that covers your iris and pupil.) Reflections from the sand intensify the sun's rays, making it much easier for your unprotected corneas to become burned.

When you shop for sunglasses, look for styles that offer protection from ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) rays. Wraparound sunglasses offer the most protection from the sun.

Wear a Hat

Combining sunglasses with a hat offers even more protection. Look for hats with wide brims that shade your eyes completely. Baseball caps, floppy beach hats, and bucket hats are all good choices.

Make Room for Artificial Tears or Moisturizing Eye Drops in Your Luggage

Sun and wind can dry out your eyes, leaving them red, sore, and irritated. Lubricating eye drops or artificial tears will keep your eyes comfortable and moist.

Use Your Swim Goggles

Not sure where you put your goggles after last year's vacation? Now's the perfect time to start searching. Goggles prevent water from entering your eyes whether you swim in a lake, the ocean, or a pool. The eyewear prevents bacterial eye infections and irritation and redness caused by pool chemicals and chloramines. Chloramines are irritants produced when chemicals mix with sweat, urine, feces, dirt, and sunscreen.

Don't Swim In Your Contact Lenses

Have you ever been tempted to swim with your contact lens still in your eyes? Although wearing contact lenses to swim certainly makes it easier to see, the practice can lead to a serious eye infection called microbial keratitis. The infection occurs when water contaminated with bacteria, fungi, or microorganisms is trapped between your contacts and your eyes.

According to Medscape, some types of bacterial keratitis can destroy the cornea in just 24 to 48 hours. Since the infection can lead to permanent vision loss, it's best to keep your contacts in their case when you swim. Just because you can't wear your contact lenses doesn't mean you have to view the world through a blurry haze at the beach or pool. Your eye doctor offers prescription goggles that provide sharp, clear vision.

Pay Attention to Hazards

Take a look at your surroundings before you spread out your beach towel or find a spot to play Frisbee or catch. Branches, sticks, or debris could damage or puncture your eye if you fall on them.

Poor eye-hand coordination or visual tracking skills (the ability to follow the path of an object) could make it easier to lose your balance or fall. If eye-hand coordination has always been a problem for you or you have trouble guessing where the Frisbee will land, vision therapy can make summer games more fun.

Vision therapy corrects subtle issues that affect vision by enhancing the pathways between the eye and the brain. The therapy involves activities and games designed to correct your specific vision issue.

Could vision therapy improve your summer sports skills? Give our office a call to schedule an appointment with the vision therapist.

Sources:

Medscape: Bacterial Keratitis, 12/9/2019

American Optometric Association: Pool of Knowledge: Educate Patients on Swimming and Eye Safety, 5/22/18

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Red Eyes and Swimming, 4/2/2022

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