Summer is here and, like most people around this time of the year, you’re probably planning at least one summer trip.

Eighty-two percent or around 212 million Americans plan to travel this summer according to an article published in the Seattle Times.

Summer travels can be a great way to unwind, soak up the sun, enjoy beautiful nature, and have fun with family, friends, or new people you meet along the way. 

But summer trips can also pose a variety of eye health risks that you may not even be aware of. Today, we’ll review the eye health risks of summer travel and see what you can do to protect your eyes – without sacrificing your holiday fun.

Eye Health Risks of Summer Travel

From UV radiation and chlorinated water in swimming pools to dust and unhealthy eating, summer holidays away from home come with some notable risks for your eyes. 

woman resting in a swimming pool with her arms stretched on the wall of the pool and her head thrown back
  • UV radiation – Whether you’re hitting the nearest beach or planning a hike with friends, your eyes are likely to get a significant dose of UV radiation. The effects of UV radiation may not be immediate but include a higher risk of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration.
  • Dust and wind – A day at the beach can expose your eyes to dust and wind – these environmental conditions can contribute to dry eye disease or dry eye syndrome. They can also worsen eye dryness and lead to severe dry eyes.
  • Low humidity – Low-humidity environments including planes may cause itching, eye pain, and headaches. These environments are one of the main causes of eye dryness.
  • High altitude – Trekking at high altitudes puts stress on the retina. Research shows that climbers who ascend to altitudes above 16,000 feet have a high risk of developing high-altitude retinopathy.
  • Chlorinated water – Chlorine is commonly added to water in swimming pools to kill bacteria and germs that cause diseases like salmonella and E. coli. Unfortunately, it can irritate the eyes and lead to dry eye disease.
  • Unhealthy eating – Street food, ice cream and other treats, and even dinners at the restaurant can easily fill you with calories, sugar, salt, and saturated fat without providing enough nutrients and antioxidants to support the healthy functioning of your eyes and tear glands.
  • Alcohol – Alcohol can dehydrate you and contribute to dry eye disease. One way to reduce the effects of alcohol on your body is to drink at least two glasses of water for every glass of wine.
  • Sleeping with your contact lenses on – Not removing your contacts overnight deprives your eyes of oxygen and can make dry eyes worse.
  • Eye infections – Traveling to certain locations, sleeping in hotels, or sharing common items or spaces may increase your risk of catching mild to serious eye infections like keratitis according to a 2023 article published in the Journal of Travel Medicine. Tropical and subtropical destinations come with the added risk of parasites from undercooked shellfish or meat that may also cause ocular infections.
  • Eye injuries – Surfing? Playing volleyball or frisbee on the beach? Or just hiking through a national park? Eye injuries can occur in a variety of situations while you’re traveling. 

Tip: Traveling abroad? Getting travel health insurance can bring you peace of mind in case of an eye infection, eye injury, or other health emergency that may occur while you’re on holiday.

Eye Health Tips for This Summer

Now that we’ve looked at some of the most common eye health risks for travelers, let’s see how you can protect your eyes.

man with sunglasses lying mostly in water at the beach reading a book

1. Use Sunglasses That Provide at Least 99% UVA and UVB Protection

A good pair of sunglasses will shield your eyes outdoors from harmful UV rays – a must-have on any holiday. Check our guide on shopping for the best pair of sunglasses for summer.

2. Wear a Wide-Brimmed Hat or Cap

Headwear can shield your eyes from the sun and reduce the risk of sunburned eyes (photokeratitis). You can also seek the cover of a sun umbrella.

3. Refrain from Touching Your Eyes

Wash your hands after touching other surfaces and avoid touching your eyes directly even if they’re itching, watering, or feeling gritty. Rubbing your eyes rarely helps and only increases the risk of infection and corneal damage.

4. Wear Protective Eyewear If Necessary

Wraparound sunglasses, swimming goggles, or protective eyewear may feel like a drag to take with you on holiday. But they can safeguard your eyes in a range of situations.

5. Take Enough Spare Contact Lenses with You or Use Eyeglasses

Having contact lenses to spare encourages you to change them overnight. Even better for your eyes, switch to eyeglasses during your travels.

6. Follow Special Precautions If You’re Traveling to a Challenging Environment

High altitudes, deserts, jungles, and long-haul planes are just some of the environments that can tax your eyes. Prepare by checking travel guides and talking with other travelers who’ve been there before.

7. Stay Hydrated

Hot temperatures and just being on the road during the summer can easily dehydrate you. The tear film that nourishes, lubricates, and protects the surface of your eyes is made mostly of water. Becoming dehydrated could make your eyes feel uncomfortable and lead to dry eyes. 

Don’t forget to pack a reusable water bottle in your travel bag. You can also eat water-rich fruits and vegetables like watermelon or cucumber.

8. Apply a Compress to Your Eyes

After a long flight or a hot day at the beach, a cold compress can soothe your eyes. If you’re struggling with dry eye disease, you can apply a warm compress. Read more about the benefits of compresses in our post on warm versus cold compresses.

9. Pack an Eye Health Supplement

SightC and Blueberry Gummies provide antioxidants and essential nutrients that your eyes need to stay healthy. And since they’re made from superfoods and sugar-free, you don’t have to worry about additives or added sugar. 

To boot, SightC and Blueberry Gummies are easy to take and store while you travel. With them at hand, you can stop worrying about dry eye problems.

Blueberry Monk Fruit Gummies and SightC eye health supplements

The Wrap Up

Small things can make a big difference when it comes to eye health this summer. Putting on a pair of swimming glasses before jumping into the hotel pool or taking an eye health supplement with you on holiday can help keep your eyes healthy. More than that, it can prevent the discomfort that comes with dry eyes or other eye problems.

In the end, the summer holidays are a wonderful opportunity to see and experience wonderful locations, people, and things. Your eyes will play a starring role in that, so don’t neglect them.

Dejar un comentario

Por favor tenga en cuenta que los comentarios deben ser aprobados antes de ser publicados