O.K. It's a bit early to be talking about the Fall here, but given that today's date is officially in the month of September and school is starting back up for many, well, it makes a bit of sense. And hey, our Fall in and around PDX is one of the best times of year, so it's no reason to be sad. Of course, a new seasons brings changes in weather, allergies and the like, so there's some good things to keep in mind, eye care-wise. Here's a list of things to consider:
Comprehensive Eye Exams vs. Vision Screenings
Getting a "vision screening" at school, as most kids do, is not the same as a comprehensive eye exam at the eye doctor. Just as they are titled, vision screenings are very limited and non-comprehensive. Don't rely on this screening to asses you or your child...instead, get a full eye exam.
Wash Your Hands Frequently
We hear this over and over, "wash your hands." Well, the Fall season is no different. Wash your hands frequently and void touching your eyes to minimize the chances of catching and/or spreading eye-related illnesses, colds and flu.
Keep Wearing Sunglasses
Well, our Fall season around Portland is anything short of sun. So, you likely don't need much of a reminder to keep wearing your sunglasses. And as we've noted before, clouds do not stop harmful UV and UVA rays from reaching you and your eyes. So, keep wearing those shades!
Eye Allergies in the Fall
A lot of eye allergies pop up in the Fall season and many of them are airborne. Things like pollen, dust, mold and pet dander are great example of what's floating about. Rule #1 is avoidance. Try to avoid contact with these elements, and wearing sunglasses or glasses can help. Also, keeping your windows down on the car (as long as it's not too hot, or if you have AC) is a great way to cut down on exposure. Not as cool as a ride in the convertible...but your eyes will thank you.
Wear Eye Protection
Anything that can touch or penetrate your eye is a true hazard. Always wear eye protection when doing ANYTHING that could expose your eyes as such. Whether doing yard work, home projects, or doing a sport...protect your eyes accordingly. Safety glasses are the best, and you can get them in prescription format and set for the sun.
Keep Your Eyes Moist
The Fall brings stronger and colder wind, which can cause burning, stinging and water eyes. Dry, colder air is the cause of this and can cause your eyes to dry out. Using things like artificial tears and avoiding strongly-heated rooms, high winds and the like really helps mitigate this condition. Along with dry eyes is the issue of drinking enough water. If you don't drink enough water your eyes can get dry. Remember the rule of 8..."drink 8, 8 ounce glasses of water per day." This can help not only with dry eyes, but also with dry skin (which tends to kick in with the colder Fall weather and winds).
Staying active is good for your eyes. All of our bodily systems are connected in one way or another, and staying active and, resultingly, healthy, means only good things for your eyes. So, keep up your summer level of physical activity if you can. Of course, remember to drink even more water if your active, close to 3 liters per day vs. the resting 8, 8-ounce glasses.
Header Image Courtesy: David Gn Photography