We may have a hard time letting go of summer; the leaves are falling off the trees, we’ve said goodbye to big sun hats and sunglasses… but we shouldn’t just yet. Though the sun may not feel as hot or look as bright, fall does bring some of its own eye health challenges that we all need to look out for.
A change in season means a change in weather, a change in allergies, a change in outfits and a change in priorities. Fall can sometimes be a time where all the responsibilities you may have pushed to the side during the summer, suddenly begin to resurface. It isn’t hard to get buried beneath it all.
One thing we’re all likely to forget during this time of year is our eye health. It’s easy in the summer to remember to wear our sunglasses, but it isn’t so obvious in the fall. Here are some easy vision tips to make your life a little easier this autumn.
Rock Those Shades
The air is getting colder and the sun is setting earlier but that doesn’t mean that ultraviolet rays can’t continue to harm your eyes. The truth is that UV rays can be just as present on a clear day as they are on a cloudy day.
Don’t think that because there is a bit of overcast and it’s the perfectly gloomy fall day that you needn’t wear your sunglasses. Sure, you may not need them to necessarily block out the sun’s rays, but you definitely need them for blocking out UV rays.
Even the cloudiest day of fall can cause the retina of your eyes to burn. It’s possible to get a sunburn on an overcast fall day, and your eyes can get sunburned too.
Sunglasses will protect your retinas from burning no matter the season. The sun doesn’t suddenly disappear just because we’ve disappeared inside to avoid the cold weather. So remember, if you go apple picking this year or hiking or do any other beautiful outdoor fall activity, don’t forget your sunglasses!
Take Care of Allergies
As falls blows in so do a bunch of different allergies. Just when you thought you were getting over your summer allergy sniffles in comes fall with lots of different weed pollen. Though pollen is often associated with summer weed pollen like ragweed, pigweed, tumbleweed, sagebrush and cocklebur are all very present during the fall.
You may mistake your allergies for a cold, but before you head down to the drugstore to load up on cough syrup, check your local pollen levels. Weed pollen’s peak season begins late in the summer, towards the end of August and lasts well into the beginning of November. Of course, this all depends on the weather and how warm the fall is that year.
Weed pollen levels are highest in the mornings and during windy days. Unfortunately, there are many windy days in the fall for pollen to happily spread around and irritate everyone.
Pollen affects everyone differently. Some people experience no eye allergy symptoms, while some people will have red, itchy, watery, burning and sometimes puffy eyes. Though these eye allergy symptoms are not dangerous, they are irritating and can affect our day to day.
Simple things like reading are a hassle when your eyes are burning and watering, not to mention it’s hard to see through watery eyes too.
The best way to avoid these allergies is to stay inside on days where the pollen count is high. You can find this information on your local weather channel or on their website. Or you could always perform a Google Search for pollen count in your area. What did people do before Google, honestly?
If you do happen to go out on a day where pollen is high you can always wear sunglasses! Yes, in addition to protecting your eyes from harmful UV rays, sunglasses can also be used to block pollen from entering the eyes.
If your eyes need immediate relief take a wash cloth or a thick piece of paper towel and run some cold water over them. This will create a cold compress that you can then lay over your eyes for a few minutes. You can also make a cold chamomile compress by running cold water over a bag of chamomile tea.
Of course, if your allergies are severe, see your doctor. They may prescribe allergy medication or eye drops to help ease the irritation.
Wash Your Hands
We get so used to wearing shorts and t-shirts in the summer that it can sometimes be hard to make the leap from summer attire to fall attire. We’ve all witnessed those people who still wear shorts even on the coldest day of fall because they simply refuse to accept that summer is over.
When we aren’t properly prepared with scarves and light jackets for the windy fall, we catch colds. One person catches a cold; then everyone catches a cold. That’s what it’s like every year at my house.
When we get sick and touch our eyes, we risk spreading the bacteria and contracting conjunctivitis (pink eye). Pink eye is a redness and inflammation of the conjunctiva with lines the inside of the eyelid and the outside of the eyeball. Pink eye will make the surface of your eye and the surrounding skin a pinkish red color.
This is especially common in school children. Their curious hands touch everything including their faces and eyes. Kids need to wash their hands this season twice as much as anyone else. Set a good example for them and try to make a game out of it!
Fall is a beautiful time of year and it’s easy to get swept up in all the madness. But don’t put your eyesight on the back burner this year. Healthy eyes this fall will help you keep up those good vision protecting habits all year long.