Fall is near, and soon you’ll be surrounded by brightly-coloured leaves and pumpkin spice lattes as you wave goodbye to summer. Yet, while fall brings many pleasant things, it can also change your health. HealthLink BC’s fall health feature lists a few things you may experience, including the flu and seasonal allergies—like allergic rhinitis—due to pollen, dust mites and molds.
Besides your overall health, these factors can also affect your eyes. For example, the flu is usually accompanied by conjunctivitis, and the dry weather can decrease eye moisture, preventing you from enjoying the season. To avoid such eye issues and more, here are some ways to keep your eyes healthy heading into the cooler months.
Shield your eyes whenever you’re outdoors
A sun safety article from the Canadian government explains that the sun’s UV rays can damage your eyes. Despite summer being over, the UV index can be exceptionally high at the beginning of fall, meaning prolonged exposure to the sun can still cause photokeratitis (eye sunburn) and cataract formation.
To prevent this, wear sunglasses whenever you’re outdoors. Make sure they offer 100% UV protection and effectively shield you. When you’re raking leaves, it’s also important to wear eyeglasses to avoid any dirt particles from entering your eyes. Finally, try to stay indoors or in the shade between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., when the sun is at its strongest.
Maintain your eyes’ moisture
Getting dry eyes in the fall is expected because of the colder, drier air and allergens. Ignoring dry eyes increases your risk of infections, as dust and other particles can more easily damage the eyes’ surface. This can lead to abrasions, corneal ulcers and inflammation.
Keep your eyes moisturized by carrying and applying eye drops. These act as artificial tears that lubricate your eyes. Also, avoid overly warm rooms because artificial heating can dry your eyes more than the wind. If you’re experiencing dry eyes, don’t rub them, so you don’t cause any abrasions.
Get prescription-coloured contacts for Halloween
If you’re excited to dress up in a Halloween costume that involves wearing coloured contacts to replicate a character’s look, don’t forget to get a prescription for your lenses. Clearly emphasizes that coloured contact lenses are still considered medical devices. Even if they don’t provide vision correction, they are still placed on top of your cornea — a sensitive part of the eye that requires oxygen. Getting a prescription will ensure they fit well and your cornea receives oxygen, and doesn’t get irritated or infected.
To get prescription coloured contacts, it’s thus best to consult a professional first. For this, consider booking an eye exam. Our article “11 Vital Annual Check-ups” reminds us that eye exams are not only great for detecting eye problems and diseases early, but also for getting prescription glasses and contacts.
Take advantage of fall food’s eye health benefits
Pumpkin, squash, apples and cauliflower are great for your eyes, since they are rich in beta carotene and vitamins C and A that prevent dry eyes, risk of blurry vision and UV damage.
Make the most of these by incorporating them into your meals, like salads and soups. You can also opt for dishes that contain these ingredients during Halloween parties or Thanksgiving dinners.
Remember these tips as we head into one of the most beautiful times of the year!