Don’t forget to protect your eyes during B.C. heatwave: optometrist

NORTH VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — As B.C.’s heatwave has us slathering on the sunscreen, an optometrist is urging people not to forget to protect their eyes.

With record-breaking temperatures beating down on most of the province, Dr. Pavan Avinashi says it’s important to mitigate exposure to harmful UV rays.

“It doesn’t matter if it’s as hot as it is — or if it’s even milder. Year-round we stress to our patients’ importance of proper UV protection as we do our skin,” he says.

“Our eyes are very sensitive organs and at times like this, especially when you’re outside, the intensity of the UV is much more penetrating, it’s much more harmful. Especially at this time, it’s so critical to limit the amount of exposure you have.”

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Contact lenses can be irritating in extreme heat, Avinashi explains.

“With the heat, things evaporate, even water evaporates so much quicker. The eyes are more predisposed to being dry,” he says, adding daily lenses tend to have higher water content.

“Prescription sunglasses are a really good option for patients who have a predisposition to dryness, and that can’t sustain a contact lens on a day like this.”

Ultimately, there’s no solution that will work for everyone, but shielding eyes and avoiding prolonged exposure is crucial, and Avinashi notes all parts of the eye are vulnerable to damage form UV rays.

“With high exposure or long-term exposure to those tissues, we know the prevalence of disease is much higher,” he says. “Protect your eyes as much as possible.”

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