Surfer’s eye is a highly uncomfortable and problematic medical condition that may occur in the eyes. While the name mentions only surfers, basically anyone who spends a lot of time outdoors can potentially develop a surfer’s eye. The condition occurs due to damage to the conjunctiva, the pupils’ outer membrane. Reputed optical clinics and sunglass stores like Jackson Davenport offer various types of eyewear that can help you prevent the condition.

What is Surfer’s Eye?

Irritants like seawater, UV rays, sand, glare, dust, and wind can potentially damage the conjunctiva due to repeated exposure—the conjunctive consists of collagen fibers. Constant damage from these irritants can cause the collagen fibers to degenerate.

In place of the collagen fibers, thicker and yellowish fibers start growing. The pterygium grows from the side closest to the nose and advances towards the cornea. As the pterygium grows, it can potentially cover the cornea entirely and block light from entering. This condition may develop either in the eyes or in only one.

How Can You Get Surfer’s Eye?

Constant exposure to any previously mentioned irritants can affect the surfer’s eyes. The reason why the condition got its name is essentially the fact that it is most common among surfers. Unlike most water and sports enthusiasts, surfers usually do not wear any eye protection. Underwater head submersions and splashes to the face essentially expose the conjunctiva to sand and seawater.

However, even if you do not participate in surfing or similar sports, you could still suffer from the condition due to spending too much time outdoors. Even during cloudy days, UV rays are still present, and so are dust and wind. Thus, if you venture a lot outdoors without wearing any eye protection such as sunglasses, you could develop the surfer’s eye.

How Do You Prevent Surfer’s Eye?

By taking preventive measures, you can stop this condition from developing. Five tips that can help you prevent surfer’s eyes are:

  1. Wearing protective gear while surfing

If you are a surfer, you are at a high risk of developing a surfer’s eyes. Wearing protective gear for your eyes would not restrict your performance. Look for quality eyewear for watersports as these can offer you the necessary protection. You can choose from various products, from eyewear that looks like sunglasses to watertight models.

This type of eyewear feature ensures they would not fall off while surfing. Even when they do, they will float up, and you can find them easily.

  1. Wearing high-quality sunglasses outdoors

Even when you are not surfing and going outdoors, wear sunglasses. The shades that offer 100% protection against UV rays are preferable, and you might want to get wraparound sunglasses for more excellent coverage. These sunglasses can effectively block irritants from the sides, and polarized glasses protect your eyes against glare from snow and water.

Do not settle for cheap sunglasses, as those would not offer you the protection you need. Make sure to choose a reputed brand that provides quality eyewear. Protecting your eyes from harmful elements is of paramount importance.

  1. Keep your indoor air healthy

Protecting your eyes only while going outdoors is not enough. While UV rays aren’t much of a concern indoors, poor air quality is. Do not let indoor air get too dry, as it can cause irritations in the eye. Humidifiers or containers of uncovered water help to avoid such a situation by raising the humidity level in the air in case you are cooling or heating the air. If not, try to let in the fresh air as much as possible to eliminate stagnancy.

  1. Wash your face after surfing

After you finish a surfing session, wash your face thoroughly with warm water. It helps keep the eyelids and the eye’s surface clean and healthy. Washing your face after a surfing session removes irritants from the eye socket before they can enter your eyes and cause damage to the conjunctiva.

  1. Apply eye mists

Dye eyes increase the chances of developing a surfer’s eye. Apply moisturizing eye mist to maintain optimal moisture levels in your eyes. The critical difference between eye drops and eye mists is that you may use the latter as frequently as needed.

What are the Symptoms of the Surfer’s Eye?

You would want to be aware if you develop the condition, as treating it immediately can prevent it from growing. Look for the following signs as symptoms of surfer’s eye:

  • Burning sensations in your eye
  • Itchy and bloody eyes
  • Bloody tears
  • Constant redness of the eye
  • Eye inflammation
  • A feeling of having a foreign object in your eye
  • Blurred vision

In case the symptoms start to appear, visit a doctor at the soonest to get it treated or prevent it from growing worse. The doctor may recommend different solutions depending on how intense the symptoms are. These include:

  • Eyedrops to help with the irritation and redness
  • Eye wetting drops and ointments
  • Prescription steroid eye drops to provide relief from pain or itching
  • Surgery

Doctors generally suggest undergoing surgery only if the non-surgical treatment processes are insufficient or you find the condition to be cosmetically unacceptable.

Where Can You Buy High-Quality Eyewear?

It is always advisable to shop from reputed stores if you are looking for high-quality eyewear to prevent a surfer’s eye. At Jackson Davenport, we are one of the top optical stores in Summerville, SC, with a good track record of more than five decades. We offer products from the most reputed and reliable brands, including Ray-Ban, Costa, Oakley, and more. You may even consult an eye specialist to find the most suitable sunglass for yourself. Dr. Holstead, a highly experienced and trained optometrist, carries out eye care exams at our optical store. This ensures the quick and accurate diagnosis of conditions that may not show any major signs yet. You may schedule an appointment with us or give us a call at 843-871-9750 to get in touch.