Updated May 22nd, 2024 at 10:16 IST

Eyes Are One Of The Most Affected Organs During Heatwave; Here’s How You Can Protect Them

Prolonged exposure to high temperatures and intense sunlight can lead to various eye problems, such as dryness, irritation, and even increased risk of cataract.

How to Protect Your Eyes During a Heatwave | Image:Unsplash
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Heatwaves can have severe effects on your health, including the well-being of your eyes. Prolonged exposure to high temperatures and intense sunlight can lead to various eye problems, such as dryness, irritation, and even increased risk of cataracts. Here are some tips to protect your eyes during a heatwave.

Wear UV-protective Sunglasses

Ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun can cause significant damage to your eyes. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, UV rays can contribute to the development of cataracts and macular degeneration. To protect your eyes, invest in sunglasses that block 100% of UVA and UVB rays. Wraparound styles offer additional protection by preventing UV rays from entering from the sides.

Eyes | Image: Unsplash

Stay hydrated

Hydration plays a crucial role in maintaining eye health. Dehydration can lead to dry eyes, a condition where the eyes do not produce enough tears or the right quality of tears, causing irritation and discomfort. The Mayo Clinic recommends drinking plenty of water throughout the day, especially during hot weather, to keep your body and eyes adequately hydrated.

Use artificial tears

Heatwaves can exacerbate dry eye symptoms. Artificial tears or lubricating eye drops can help maintain moisture on the surface of your eyes. According to the American Optometric Association, using preservative-free artificial tears is beneficial for those who need to use them frequently, as they are less likely to cause irritation.

Wear a hat with a brim

Complementing your sunglasses with a wide-brimmed hat can provide extra protection from the sun. The combination of a hat and sunglasses can reduce UV exposure to your eyes by up to 50%, as noted by the Skin Cancer Foundation. This dual approach is particularly effective during outdoor activities.

Avoid direct sun exposure

During a heatwave, the sun's rays are most intense between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Limiting your time outdoors during these peak hours can reduce your risk of eye damage. If you must be outside, seek shade whenever possible to minimise direct sunlight exposure.

Apply cold compresses

Heat can cause eye inflammation and discomfort. Applying a cold compress to your eyes can help soothe irritation and reduce swelling. The American Academy of Ophthalmology suggests using a clean cloth soaked in cold water or chilled, dampened tea bags to provide relief from heat-induced eye strain.

Use cold compress for your eyes | Image: Unsplash

Protect against dust and allergens

Heatwaves often come with increased dust and pollen levels, which can aggravate eye allergies and irritation. Wearing wraparound sunglasses can shield your eyes from airborne particles. Additionally, using air purifiers indoors can help reduce the presence of allergens in your living environment, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Maintain a healthy diet

A diet rich in antioxidants can support eye health. Foods high in vitamins C and E, zinc, and omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to reduce the risk of eye diseases and maintain overall eye health, as supported by research from the National Eye Institute. Incorporate leafy greens, nuts, seeds, and fish into your meals for optimal eye protection.

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Published May 22nd, 2024 at 10:16 IST