Canada Is Facing Heatwaves This Summer: Here Are 4 Tips to Protect Your Eye Health

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Tips to Protect Your Eye Health

by Philip A. Stewart

Canada has been experiencing intense heat waves, with some areas even getting hit by temperatures that feel like 45 degrees. As officials urge people to take precautions against the ill effects of this heat, experts note that it’s only going to get worse. There is a chance that heat levels will surpass 2023, which already broke records for being the warmest in two millennia.

As we begin a season with more heatwaves likely to come, it’s essential to consider your eye health. Your eyes are more sensitive to UV penetration than your skin, and high heat levels increase your risk of eye damage, dryness, and irritation. Make sure you follow these tips to stay safe as you navigate one of the hottest summers yet.

1. Wear sunglasses when going out

Protect your eyes from overexposure by keeping a pair of sunglasses handy with you at all times. Whether going for a light stroll or doing more prolonged activities, you’ll want a direct layer between you, the heat, and those harmful UVA and UVB rays. It’s recommended to wear these whenever you’re out in the sun, even when there are clouds in the sky. In fact, UV levels can still be extremely high on days with a heavy presence of clouds.

If you require vision correction for daily tasks, invest in a pair of prescription sunglasses to maintain your vision while staying safe against the sun. Ray-Ban’s selection offers sun protection, style, and prescription integration all in one, so you don’t have to choose one factor over the other. Even the classic Aviators, which you can get polarized, come with tinted lenses coated for 100% UV protection. Finding a pair that matches your style is easy, but make sure you get a legitimate pair to get these protective features. Check the label for the brand’s trademarks and the UV 400 signifier to ensure your eyes are truly being protected.

2. Drink plenty of fluids

Hot days tend to make your eyes go dry, and this risk becomes even more pronounced in a time with such severe heat. With the heat warnings in effect, one of the most important preventive measures is to have lots of non-alcoholic beverages on hand. Water is naturally your best option, but cool drinks with no alcoholic content or caffeine should also work. You may even want to opt for drinks with electrolytes.

Staying hydrated is a given when trying to beat the heat, but keeping your eyes safe is also necessary. When your body lacks hydration, your eyes are directly impacted and struggle to produce tears. This isn’t just for crying and washing out debris but for keeping your eye’s surface moist. If you don’t drink enough fluids, you increase the likelihood of getting an eye infection.

3. Use eyedrops to alleviate dryness

Eyedrops are a handy resource when your eyes are particularly irritated by the sun or suffering from heat-induced dryness. There are many types of eyedrops with different uses, but the general-use drops to go for are artificial tears. These provide relief from irritation and dryness but also help you flush out any debris or dirt that may be in your eye.

Lotemax is commonly prescribed in Canada for people who suffer from intense dryness and inflammation. If you’re going preventative and don’t want to get a prescription, popular over-the-counter options include Refresh and Systane. These moisturize your eyes effectively and help combat the buildup of bacteria.

4. Wear a hat outdoors

A hat protects you from the direct rays of the sun, keeping your skin and eyes from getting sunburned. Yes, your eyes can also get burned from UV rays through photokeratitis. A good hat with enough of a lip or brim to cast shade over your eyes should give you added protection from glare and UV rays.

When you’re out and about, you are also at risk of overheating, which has been linked to higher cases of mortality in Canada during this season. Larger cities that are less acclimatized to the heat are at an even higher risk of this, so you don’t want to leave the house without a good hat. Evaporative cooling hats use fabric lining to keep you cool, with Mission making them in bucket hats and baseball caps to provide much-needed cover for your eyes.

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