6 Tips for Educating Patients About Summer Eye Health


These videos can help explain common risks and prevention

With Memorial Day marking the unofficial start of the season, summer is here and that means patients need to take certain eye health risks and routines into consideration and protect their vision during the hotter months. It’s a great time to educate your patients about how to keep their eyes healthy and prevent vision-threatening conditions in the future. Here are some tips and videos for doctors to deliver timely patient education this summer.

Encourage healthy time outdoors. Now more than ever, it’s important to spend time outdoors, especially for children. With myopia on the rise due to the pandemic and distance learning, you should let patients know that some exposure to sunlight can have positive health effects, as long as you protect your eyes and skin from UV damage.

This video can help explain how spending too much time indoors can impact the eye’s development:

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Let patients know that spending time outdoors is healthy and good for the eyes, with myopia on the rise — as long as they’re protected from UV rays. 

Emphasize and explain why sunglasses are necessary. Many people probably already know that sunglasses protect their eyes. But don’t assume that patients understand terms that are second nature to doctors. Explain what UV rays are and why they’re harmful. You might also talk to patients about the benefits of polarized sunglasses. For patients with kids, discuss the importance of protecting their children’s eyes with sunglasses. Remind all your patients to wear sunglasses even on overcast days, since UV rays can go through clouds.

Ask about medications. Patients may not know that certain medications that may increase photosensitivityincreased sensitivity of the eye to sunlight and susceptibility to eye damage from UV rays. These photosensitizing drugs include antibiotics containing tetracycline, some birth control and estrogen pills and certain anti-inflammatory pain relievers, such as ibuprofen and naproxen sodium. Encourage patients to bring their medications to their next eye exam.

Sports and activities like lawn mowing cause thousands of eye injuries each year, but 90% of accidents are preventable with protective eyewear. 

Discuss eye protection for sports and activities. Nearly 30,000 eye injuries are caused each year by sports, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology — yet 90% of these accidents could be prevented by protective eyewear. The most common types of eye trauma during sports are corneal abrasion, blunt injuries and penetrating injuries. Bring this up if you know your patients play certain sports. For example, in cases of retinal tears due to pickleball injuries, studies concluded that proper eye protection should be worn. Remind patients that other outdoor activities, like mowing the lawn, also warrant proper eye protection. 

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Educate contact lens patients. A CDC report found that of the 45 million contact lens wearers in the United States, most practice at least some behaviors that put them at risk for serious eye infections, such as not removing their contacts before swimming. The report also stated that one third of lens wearers claimed they never received any lens care recommendations from their eye care provider. Make sure you are educating your contact lens patients often about proper hygiene and do’s and don’ts. 

Offer options for dry eye. In the summer, heat, wind, air conditioning and other elements can affect the tear film of the eye, drying out the eye’s surface and increasing symptoms of dry eye disease. Patients may not know this common condition has a name and numerous treatment options. Let them know about new delivery methods, such as neurostimulation devices and nasal spray.

Learn how health literacy plays a role in patient outcomes and your bottom line by downloading our Health Literacy white paper.

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