Changing seasons from summer to fall involves more than a simple drop in temperature. From allergies in autumn and less daylight, to the fight against the cold and flu, we have some information about how this time of year may impact your eyes.
Fun insight: September 23rd marked the Celestial Equinox, which is the one day each year that night and day are nearly the same length. It also kicked off the autumn season in the Northern Hemisphere!
This time of year can give way to some troublesome allergies. If you have ever suffered from allergies, you know the familiar irritation they bring to your senses. Allergies can be especially bothersome to your eyes, with symptoms including: itching, burning, redness, and watery discharge. Aggravated eyes are usually accompanied by a runny, stuffy nose found with nasal allergies or even a scratchy throat.
During late August through early November, the most common allergens are ragweed pollen and molds. These seasonal elements can be especially tough for those prone to allergies. In locations where some may experience a late summer, dry or windy conditions can promote annoying airborne allergens that upset sensitive eyes. Then when the temperatures die down and the leaves begin to change and fall, allergies can continue to be a bother. Molds and allergens hide in piles of leaves, so be aware of your allergies when raking or gathering fallen leaves!
Remember: Even though leaves are falling and the days are becoming shorter, it’s still important to protect your eyes from the sun. Harmful ultraviolet rays can damage your eyes at any point during the year. Are you a VSP Vision Care member? If you haven’t had the chance to utilize your second frame benefit; use it to snag a pair of sunglasses before it soon expires, so you can keep your eyes protected all year.
Fun insight: In 1784, Benjamin Franklin suggested the United States start the day earlier during the summer months to preserve daylight and hinder the need for candles.
We spend a lot of time on the road driving as it is – but with work, school and exciting plans during the holiday season, we all can be especially busy in the fall. With the additional hours of darkness, it’s important to be prepared to drive for longer periods at night. Perform routine maintenance on your vehicles, with special care to check the headlights and windshield wipers. If you’re aware your eyes need corrective vision, even for reading, be sure your prescription is up to date and your contacts or glasses are comfortable. If you think you might need glasses or an update to your prescription, don’t hesitate to see a VSP doctor.
Regardless of your quality of vision, seeing at night can strain your eyes, especially while driving. When on the road, don’t fixate on one spot for too long, its best to scan the road and keep your eyes moving. As much as your headlights help you, the headlights of others will give you trouble if you stare at them directly, so keep your vision slighted toward the right side of the road to help avoid distraction or strain.
Fun insight: Did you know that while cold symptoms can make you feel bad for a few days, flu symptoms make you feel quite ill for up to weeks? So once you feel the difference and suspect flu, it’s important to see a physician!
Every region is affected by the change of season in a slightly different way, from the types of allergens to the exact length of days, but there is one thing we all deal with this time of year—the battle against cold and flu viruses. Regardless of where you live, your activities, or how healthy you are, anyone can be affected by sickness this fall season. Sneezing, coughing, and fever may accompany colds and flu, and when you’re especially sick it can also negatively affect your eyes. Eyes can be dry and tired, and it’s not uncommon to gain an eye infection while under the weather. If you suspect you have one, or experience prolonged eye discomfort, reach out to a VSP doctor right away. If you typically where make up, it would be best to avoid anything heavy until you’re feeling better to avoid eye irritations or infection. And most important: Be sure you’re washing your hands frequently while sick and take extra care not to touch or rub your eyes.
The contents in this article are for general information purposes only. Please consult your eye care doctor or physician for actual advice.