Summer is here and the beach is ready to welcome you with golden sand and refreshing waves. Beach time can be the highlight of a great summer holiday. But beaches also expose you to several dry eyes causes.

Whether you’re set for the Bahamas or Honolulu, Copa Cabana or Crete, or just bound for a local beach, our tips on preventing and treating eye dryness at the beach will come in handy.

What Causes Dry Eyes at the Beach?

Dry eyes are more likely to occur in some climates than others because of environmental conditions. On a summer beach you can find, apart from good vibes, several dry eye disease risk factors.

UV Radiation

Bathing in the golden light of the sun may be one of the best reasons to go to the beach. But with it comes UV radiation. You’ve probably already packed some sunscreen, but what about the effects of UV radiation on your eyes?

woman in red swim suit with sunglasses lying on the sand at the beach blocking the sunlight from her face with one hand

UV radiation can cause more than sunburned eyes, a condition known as photokeratitis. It can induce oxidative stress that has been associated with serious conditions such as macular degeneration, glaucoma, and even dry eye disease.

High Temperature

Hot temperatures can increase the rate at which the watery component of the tear film that covers the surface of the eye evaporates. If you come from a region with a temperate or colder climate, you may not experience this problem at home.

But as soon as you hit the beach, you may start feeling like your eyes are beginning to dry. This occurs because the tear film is struggling to lubricate your eyes.

A study on the association between dry eye disease, air pollution, and weather changes suggests that higher temperatures caused by climate change are increasing tear film evaporation. On a beach you can experience this firsthand.

Sea Breeze

The sea breeze, refreshing as it is, brings with it dry air that can increase the evaporation of tears. Most cases of dry eye at the beach are evaporative dry eye.

In this form of the condition, the watery component of the tear film is not sufficient to provide moisture to your eyes.

A strong sea breeze can leave your eyes feeling dry and sore in no time.


Another major risk factor for dry eye syndrome at the beach is the salt concentration in seawater. Seawater has a salt level of around 35,000 parts per million (ppm). By contrast, a healthy tear film has a salt level of around 9,000 ppm.

Swimming without protective goggles exposes your eyes to the drying effects of seawater. The high concentration of salt pulls water out of the tear film. It can upset the delicate balance of the different components of the tear film and have a drying effect on your eyes.

Signs of Dry Eyes at the Beach

Next time you head out to the beach, pay attention to what your eyes are trying to tell you. A gritty feeling in the eye together with one or more of the symptoms below could be a sign of dry eyes.

  • Gritty feeling, like you have sand in the eye
  • Stinging sensation
  • Itchy eyes
  • Stringy mucus around your eyes
  • Sore eyes
  • Redness
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Excessive tearing as your tear glands try to lubricate the surface of your eyes
  • Uncomfortable sensation when wearing contact lenses
woman sitting on chair at the beach close to water looking down with two blurry figures in the background

You may experience these symptoms at the beach or later in the day. You may also wake up with them the following morning.

It’s important to make the distinction between occasional dry eyes, which anyone can suffer from now and then, and dry eye syndrome. Persistent symptoms indicate dry eye disease.

How to Protect Your Eyes at the Beach

Preventing dry eyes at the beach is easier than having to treat dry eye symptoms. However, the answer isn’t necessarily retreating indoors to an air-conditioned room as air-conditioning systems can worsen dry eye disease.

Here are some simple but effective things you can do.

  • Wear sunglasses with UV protection – Keep your sunglasses on at the beach to block harmful UV radiation that can contribute to dry eye disease. Sunglasses can also protect the surface of your eyes from the drying effects of the sea breeze.
  • Keep a water bottle at hand – Staying hydrated supports the normal functioning of your tear glands. Systemic dehydration could create an imbalance in the tear film.  
  • Put on swimming goggles – It’s a simple way to prevent salt water from causing eye dryness. Pick a pair that fits snuggly and that doesn’t let any water reach your eyes.
  • Avoid wearing contact lenses – Contact lenses significantly reduce the amount of oxygen that reaches your eyes. Swimming or simply lying on the beach with contacts on also increases the risk that bacteria may become trapped behind the lens.
  • Use some shade – Wear a wide-brimmed cap or straw hat or lie under a beach umbrella. Any shade at the beach counts toward reducing the amount of UV radiation that hits your eyes.
  • Take an eye health supplementSightC is a superfood blend inspired by over 30 years of clinical experience in treating patients with eye disease. Rich in lutein, zeaxanthin, and other antioxidants, SightC protects your eyes from the oxidative stress arising from UV radiation. It can also soothe dry eye symptoms and promote the function of the tear glands. Keep your eyes healthy at the beach with SightC.

The Wrap Up

Eye dryness at the beach is common but preventable and manageable. It all starts with becoming aware of the risk factors – high temperature, UV radiation, sea breeze, salt water. Simple preventive measures like wearing sunglasses and a hat go a long way toward vision eye care.

For even more thorough protection from dry eye disease at the beach, take an eye health supplement before and after you head out into the sun.

SightC capsules are easy to take. They nourish your eyes and protect them from eye dryness so you can make the most of the days you spend at the beach, without any unpleasant symptoms or side effects getting in the way.

So don’t forget to pack some eye care into your beach bag!

happy woman standing with arms stretched on cliff above the beach and the sea and the coast

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