Burning eye attack!

Do your eyes burn more during the summer? Imagine a beautiful summer day. You are at the beach and there is a slight breeze, the sky is blue, people are swimming and you are laying on your beach towel and then it hits…boom, out of nowhere your eyes are instantly on fire and you can’t keep them open to function! Why is this happening and what can you do to prevent it?

Sunscreen Migrates

When we are out enjoying the summer weather, we have a bunch of factors that can contribute to your eyes being dry. The main 2 factors I want to focus on are sunscreen and sweat! In regards to sunscreen, whether you are putting it on your face or just applying it with your hands, there is a residual residue that lingers. When it’s on your face it will invariably migrate to your eyes. And even if it’s on your hands, you touch your face or rub your eyes more than you think. This just increases the risk of exposure to chemical irritants in your eyes.

Sweat and Salt

In addition to the sunscreen or lotion you use, summer weather makes us sweat. In Michigan, a hot and humid summer day will cause you to perspire even when you are not being overly active. As you may or may not know, sweat contains sodium which is why sweat tastes salty. Salt running into your eyes is going to burn. Add the fact that you are combining the sweat with lotion and you have a perfect storm of eye irritation!

Lack of a Protective Barrier

Now, if you already have an underlying unstable tear film or evaporative dry eye, your eyes are lacking the oil layer that is supposed to act as a protective barrier to wind, debris, and even sweat and lotion that can cause eye irritation. How can you stop these burning attacks from happening?

Tips for Prevention

First, make a conscious effort to keep sunscreen on the orbital bone. Too close to your eyes can be cause for irritation. Now you still need sun protection for your eyelids, so alway wear sunglasses with good eye coverage. Additionally, good lid hygiene throughout the day is paramount. Disposable eyelid wipes or even using a towel and water to just keep your lash area clean is helpful. At very least, practice good lid hygiene before going to bed and maximize the body’s protective barrier against outside irritants.

Remember, it is the little things that will keep your eyes happy and healthy this summer! If you have questions or want to get your dry eye issues checked out, call or click here to schedule an appointment!