Dry eye is a condition that occurs when the eyes fail to make enough tears or produce poor-quality tears. Tears help provide moisture and lubrication, both vital for healthy eyes. They wash away dust, pollen, and bacteria that could damage the eyes.
When the parts of the eye responsible for producing tears are damaged, it can cause chronic dry eye. Symptoms of the condition include grittiness, blurred vision, soreness, redness, and light sensitivity.
One of the reasons dry eye may worsen during summer is the increased exposure to sunlight. Most people spend more time outdoors during summer when the temperatures are warmer.
The days are brighter and longer, so eyes are more likely to be exposed to harmful UV rays. The tear film evaporates faster in the heat, causing dry eye symptoms.
The constant use of air conditioning during summer can lead to the worsening of dry eye. Air conditioning helps create a more comfortable indoor environment. However, the systems also reduce humidity and moisture in the air.
It can lead to faster tear film evaporation, which triggers dry eye. The reduced temperature can reduce the ability of the meibomian glands to produce oils that keep the tears from quick evaporation.
Dry eye is different from eye allergies, but people who have allergies can get dry eye. The two conditions have some similar symptoms.
There are more allergens in the atmosphere during the spring and summer months. People who suffer from allergies experience severe dry eye symptoms during the warm months due to higher pollen levels. Medications that help treat eye allergies can increase the symptoms of dry eye.
The body needs water to function well. Water is vital for hydrating the eyes and producing a healthy tear film. People are more likely to be dehydrated during the hot summer days. The body prioritizes other body functions when distributing water.
The eyes do not receive adequate fluid to produce the tear film necessary to keep them comfortable. Failing to drink plenty of water during summer can lead to increased dry eye symptoms.
Smoke from wildfires and increased air pollution are typical in summer. If you have dry eyes, you are likely to be sensitive to smoke. Air pollution increases the toxins in the air, including particulate matter, chemicals, and carbon monoxide.
The smoke and increased air pollution can be harmful to eye health, and it can cause pain and irritation. The summer pollution can worsen dry eye symptoms, especially for chronic dry eye patients.
Exposure to chlorine from swimming pools and salt from the ocean can worsen dry eye symptoms. You can do things to prevent the worsening of the symptoms. They include wearing protective sunglasses outdoors, staying well hydrated, and using a humidifier indoors.
There are many ways to treat dry eye conditions, ranging from eye drops to surgical procedures. The treatments can help alleviate the symptoms.
For more on whether dry eye worsens during summer, visit Coastal Family Eyecare at our Orange Beach, Alabama office. Call (251) 974-1233 today to schedule an appointment.