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Protect Your Eyes This Spring by Adopting These 5 Habits

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Spring is in the air! The warm weather, blossoming flowers and smell of freshly cut grass is a welcome relief for anyone who’s ready to put winter behind them. Walks in the park. Barbecues. Playgrounds full of children.

Despite all the spring excitement, it’s important to know that the change in weather can affect your eyes in more ways than one — from prolonged UV exposure and a heightened risk of eye injuries to dry eyes and allergies.

Here are 5 practical ways to protect your eyes this season:

1. Wear Sunglasses with 100% UV Protection

UV protection isn’t only essential for your skin, but also for your eyes.

Prolonged unprotected exposure to the sun’s strong UVA and UVB rays can cause ‘eye sunburn’ (photokeratitis), and UV exposure over months or years can put you at risk of developing sight-threatening eye diseases in the future.

Which is why sunglasses are more than just a fashion accessory. When shopping for sunglasses, look for the label that says ‘100% UV protection.’ This way, you can enjoy the sun without a second thought for your eyes.

And if you believe sunglasses are only meant for sunny days, think again. The sun’s UV rays are so powerful that they penetrate through the clouds and reflect off of water, snow, ice, concrete and many other surfaces.

So before you head out the door, be sure to grab a pair of shades. For even greater protection, also wear a cap or wide-brimmed hat.

2. Drink Plenty of Water

Drinking water — especially on a hot day— is important not only for your overall health, but the health of your eyes. If your body becomes dehydrated your eyes will too, which can lead to symptoms of dry eye and other complications.

Many doctors recommend drinking six 8-ounce glasses of water each day, and more if you’re playing sports or spending lots of time in the sun. So keep a bottle of water close by and drink, drink, drink!

3. Hydrate Your Eyes

Sometimes, drinking water isn’t enough to keep dry eye symptoms at bay.

If your eyes are dry, irritated, itchy or bloodshot, you may have dry eye syndrome. Dry air and wind, air-conditioning and heating systems, certain medications and medical conditions can all cause dry eyes.

Call Westpoint Optical in Brampton West to schedule a dry eye assessment and learn about your treatment options.

4. Wear Protective Eyewear

The beautiful spring weather calls for outdoor sports, bonfires, barbeques — and in some places, fireworks. Although these activities may be fun, they also pose a risk to your eye health and vision.

To protect your eyes from injury and exposure to extreme heat and smoke, make sure to wear protective eyewear like sports goggles or specialized glasses with polycarbonate lenses.

Most eye injuries can be prevented with the right kind of eye protection.

5. Seek Allergy Relief

Does the mere thought of springtime make your eyes tear and your nose run? You’re not alone. Seasonal allergies are common, and can be frustrating, especially when you’ve been looking forward to spending more time outdoors.

If you suffer from eye allergies, even a morning jog around the block can have you rubbing your eyes for the rest of the day.

Fortunately, there are ways to effectively treat eye allergies and make irritated, itchy eyes a thing of the past.

Contact Westpoint Optical in Brampton West to learn about the different dry eye and allergy treatments we offer, or to choose eyewear that protects your eyes from sun exposure and injury. We’re here to help you protect your eyes this spring and always.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is Dry Eye syndrome?

A: Dry eye syndrome (DES) is a chronic condition that occurs when your eyes don’t produce enough tears, or there is insufficient oil in your tears.

Some of the most common causes of DES include:

  • Environmental factors – living in a dry, dusty or windy climate
  • Hormonal changes – especially during pregnancy and menopause
  • Certain medications – antihistamines, blood pressure medications and antidepressants, among others
  • Eyelid conditions – like meibomian gland dysfunction and blepharitis
  • Post-LASIK surgery

Symptoms can be mild or severe and cause your eyes to feel dry, sore, itchy, and watery. Treatment for DES varies, depending on the underlying cause, but can range anywhere from medicated eye drops and ointments to in-office procedures.

Q: How are eye allergies treated?

A: The most effective way to treat your eye allergies is to first find out what’s causing them.

Eye allergies can be triggered by:

  • Airborne substances found in nature such as pollen from flowers, grass and trees
  • Indoor allergens such as pet dander, dust and mold
  • Irritants such as cosmetics, chemicals, cigarette smoke and perfume

To alleviate your symptoms, your eye doctor may recommend OTC lubricating eye drops, medicated eye drops that replace the oil in your tears, or eye drops (or oral medications) that contain an antihistamine.

If these eye drops don’t provide enough relief, your eye doctor can discuss a range of in-office treatments or prescribe a stronger medication to provide long-lasting relief for your allergic eyes.

Quality Frames For Prescription Eyeglasses & Computer Glasses. Visit Westpoint Optical for an eye exam and eyeglasses that match your style.


12 Tips for Optimal Eye Health

Good Eye Care Habits & Hygiene

By practicing good eye care habits and hygiene, you can prevent many vision problems from occurring. Eye problems and the risks associated with vision loss only grow as you age. By neglecting eye care, you place yourself at a higher risk of suffering from cataracts, macular degeneration, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, and low vision.

So make sure you maintain great eye health by following these 12 tips for optimal eye health.

1. Avoid rubbing your eyes

Itchy eyes can be a hallmark symptom of allergies, and though rubbing may bring temporary relief, it ultimately increases swelling and worsens the itch. If you wear contact lenses, rubbing your eyes can also dislodge or even break a lens, causing the lens to get lost or scratch the cornea. Plus, eye rubbing can lead to eye infections, since our hands are typically covered with a host of germs.

2. Regularly wash your hands

Conjunctivitis (pink eye) is often caused by germs and bacteria carried to your eyes by unclean hands. Frequently washing your hands with soap and warm water helps keep bacteria away and prevents eye contamination. Prior to inserting or removing contact lenses, make sure to wash your hands with mild soap and dry them using a lint-free towel.

3. Beware of UV rays

By exposing yourself to sunlight and UV rays, you increase the risk of developing macular degeneration and corneal sunburn. Beyond just adding some style and zest to your look, sunglasses should protect your eyes from dangerous UV rays. Speak to your optometrist about the different options available for people who wear prescription eyeglasses or contact lenses too, to keep your eyes safe in the sun.

4. Stay hydrated

Staying hydrated is crucial for your body’s overall health and wellbeing — and that includes your eyes. Among other complications, if you don’t have enough fluid in your body, it impacts tear production and can cause dry eyes and irritation. Drink up!

5. Don’t smoke cigarettes

Need some extra motivation to quit smoking?

Smokers are more prone to developing age-related macular degeneration, cataracts, and other eye conditions. Cigarette smoking can also destroy optic nerves, which can adversely affect your vision over time. So think twice before you light up, and speak to your doctor about getting help to quit.

6. Eat a healthy diet

Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables to ensure that your diet is rich in antioxidants, such as Vitamins A and C. These can be found in leafy greens (your mom was right about spinach!), orange vegetables (think, carrots and sweet potato) and citrus fruit. Furthermore, fatty fish like salmon contain essential omega-3 fatty acids which also promote excellent eye health.

7. Keep a healthy distance from screens

Nip digital eye strain in the bud by positioning your computer monitor about an arm’s length away from the eyes and 20 degrees below eye level. Ideally, work in a room with enough diffused lighting to reduce stress on your eyes from the computer light.

8. Remember the 20-20-20 rule

Speaking of computers, have you heard of the 20-20-20 rule? When using digital devices, rest your eyes every 20 minutes by looking 20 feet away for 20 continuous seconds.

Once you’re at it, blink 20 times in succession to prevent dry eyes, and make it a habit to rise from your seat and take 20 steps to promote good posture and blood circulation, which helps your vision too.

9. Be careful with eye make-up

Make sure that your eye shadow, mascara, and eyeliner don’t cause your eyes an allergic reaction. Get in the habit of removing your make-up before going to sleep in order to avoid bacterial build-up from residual make-up left in the eye area. And, from time to time, clean your make-up brushes, especially those used to apply cosmetics around the eye area.

10. Sleep is golden

Just as with the rest of your body, your eyes need a break. So make sure that you get sufficient shut-eye (8 hours) each night to keep your eyes revitalized and healthy.

11. Wear protective eyewear

Whatever you do, make sure your eyes are well-protected. If you’re swimming, wear goggles to prevent chlorine from entering your eyes. If you’re gardening or engaged in a DIY project at home, wear safety glasses to keep dust particles and bacteria at bay and prevent eye injuries. Ask your local eye doctor about protective eyewear for sports and other activities.

12. Regularly visit your eye doctor

Don’t underestimate the importance of getting a routine eye exam, whether you need an updated prescription or not. Even if you can see well today, a comprehensive eye exam can pick up early signs of eye diseases and conditions before symptoms become noticeable, such as glaucoma, diabetes, retinal holes which could lead to retinal detachment, and cancers like melanoma. Early detection and management can prevent further complications and serious vision loss down the line.

Only an eye doctor has the required knowledge, experience, tools and techniques to determine whether you have these or other eye conditions.

It is recommended that everyone gets a comprehensive eye exam once a year (or at least every two years). Children, whose eyes are rapidly developing, and people at higher risk for developing eye problems such as diabetics and older people, need to undergo eye exams even more frequently: at the minimum, yearly.

During the evaluation, the eye doctor will check for things like:

  • Farsightedness, nearsightedness, astigmatism and/or presbyopia
  • Eye coordination
  • Optic nerve and eye pressure tests to spot glaucoma

It’s also important to be on the look-out for any changes in your vision. If you experience hazy or double vision, worsening eyesight, red eyes, eye pain, swelling or floaters, contact our optometric team.

Incorporate these tips and habits into your lifestyle to maintain healthy eyes and a high quality of life. Westpoint Optical offers comprehensive eye exams in Brampton West, Ontario, and will be happy to answer any questions you may have about ways to maintain healthy vision.