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The summer sunshine is relaxing and rejuvenating, so it’s natural to want to soak in every bit of it that you can. However, the summer also exposes you and your family to higher risks to your eyes. While eye care in Tulsa and beyond can help you monitor for these risks, you can never be too careful! So, let’s look at five conditions to keep an eye out for in the warmer months.
Photokeratitis is a condition where exposure to UV rays causes sunburns on the cornea and conjunctiva of the eye. Although photokeratitis is sometimes nicknamed snow-blindness, the most common summertime causes of this condition are reflections off the water and sand. Some of the typical symptoms include:
- Pain and redness.
- Blurred vision.
- Gritty feeling.
- Swelling and teariness.
- Light sensitivity and halos.
If you think you or your child may have photokeratitis, an eye care professional may recommend home treatments like cold compresses or over-the-counter pain relievers and eyedrops. However, if it’s a severe case, they may prescribe antibiotics. Seek out providers of eye care in Tulsa or elsewhere to find a remedy for your specific condition.
To help prevent photokeratitis altogether, the best ways to protect yourself and your children include wearing protective clothing like wide-brimmed hats and good sunglasses that block 99% of UVA and UVB rays.
Swimming is a sport that is not easy on your eyes. Basically, swimmer’s eye is a condition where exposure to pool chemicals or salty seawater dries out the eyes and causes conjunctivitis (pink eye). The chemicals and salt remove the tear film that coats the eye. As a result, eyes become vulnerable to damage from what’s in the water.
In fact, besides pink eye, bacteria in the water can cause:
- More dryness.
- And, worst case, corneal ulcers.
The best course of action here is prevention by wearing good goggles, particularly goggles that also protect against UV ray damage. A professional who specializes in eye care in Tulsa and beyond can provide recommendations for the best goggles to protect your children.
Your tears exist to keep your eyes moist and comfortable. Summer heat, however, can cause your eyes to dry out, as can going too long without sufficient hydration. As mentioned above, dry eyes can also result from swimming in ocean saltwater or chemically-treated pool water. The symptoms are quite similar to those of photokeratitis but may be more easily treated. Indeed, common symptoms include:
- A burning, itchy sensation or redness in your eyes.
- Stringy mucus in or around your eyes.
- Sensitivity to light, blurred vision or eye fatigue.
- The feeling that you have something in your eyes.
- Contact lens problems.
- Watery eyes (which, ironically, is how the body responds to dry eyes).
You can treat dry eyes with eye drops and cold compresses unless the symptoms are severe or last for a long time. If symptoms persist longer than 24 hours, seek care from your eye doctor to prevent possible long-term damage to your eyes and vision. Be sure to keep properly hydrated outside as well.
We’ve all seen the commercials – summer is a time of red, watery, itchy eyes caused by the much higher pollen levels of spring and summer. The proper name is seasonal allergic conjunctivitis, but whatever you call it, it’s an annoying condition.
Eye care in Tulsa or elsewhere can help you discover if you’re having an allergic reaction. This reaction is caused by the body’s release of histamines, which cause all the classic allergy symptoms. Treatment and prevention are what you’d expect:
- Avoid rubbing the eyes.
- Avoid makeup and contacts.
- Soothe the eyes with cold compresses and preservative-free eye drops.
- For severe allergies, you may need anti-histamines, either over the counter or prescribed.
Corneal abrasions are actual injuries to the eye. They appear as scratches on the cornea, which is the clear tissue that covers the iris (the colored part of the eye) and the pupil. These scratches may be caused by simply getting sand in your eye. On the other hand, they may result from an injury that happens while playing sports. Ultimately, the causes of corneal abrasions vary:
- Poke your eye with a fingernail, pen or another object.
- Get dirt, sand, sawdust or other foreign matter in your eye.
- Get chemicals in your eye.
- Rub your eyes too hard.
- Wear bad or overworn contacts.
- Play sports without safety eyewear.
A corneal abrasion is a real injury that can have real consequences. So, be sure to consult with a professional if you think this may have happened. Also, try not to rub your eyes, and get help quickly.
Keep summer fun for your eyes by receiving eye care in Tulsa and nationwide
Summer is great, offering lots of ways to get active and outside. But, be sure that you and your children protect your eyes from all the risks that summer creates. Also, remember that getting regular eye exams is a crucial part of monitoring eye health. At Vision Care Direct of Oklahoma, get access to eye care in Tulsa with a high-quality, pre-paid vision plan.
With negotiated savings built into every plan, our focus is on your family’s eye health so you can get the care you need without worrying about cost. Discover more quality advice on safety, prevention and treatment in our blog, and contact us today to learn more about how we can help your eyes this summer and year-round!