Surfer’s eye is an extremely 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 as a result of damage to the conjunctiva, the outer membrane covering the pupils. Reputed optical clinics and sunglass stores like Jackson Davenport offer various types of eyewear that can help you prevent the condition.

What is a surfer’s eye?

Irritants like seawater, UV rays, sand, glare, dust, and wind can potentially damage the conjunctiva as a result of repeated exposure. The conjunctive consists of collagen fibers. Now, constant damage from these irritants can cause the collagen fibers to degenerate.

In place of the collagen fibers, thicker and yellowish fibers start growing. Known as the pterygium, it 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 both the eyes or only one of them.

How can you get a surfer’s eyes?

Constant exposure to any of the previously mentioned irritants can result in 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 take part in surfing or similar sports, you could still suffer from the condition as a result of spending too much time outdoors. Even during cloudy days, UV rays are still present and so are dust and wind. Thus, if you venture outdoors a lot without wearing any eye protection such as sunglasses, you could develop the surfer’s eye.

How do you prevent surfer’s eyes?

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

This type of eyewear comes with features that make sure that they would not fall off while surfing. Even when they do, they would float up and you can find them with ease.

  1. Wearing high-quality sunglasses outdoors

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

Do not settle for cheap sunglasses, as those would not offer you the protection that you need. Make sure to choose a reputed brand that offers 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 up 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, use warm water to wash your face thoroughly. It helps to keep the eyelids and the surface of the eye clean and healthy. Washing your face after a surfing session also 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 key 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 definitely want to be aware in case 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. Depending on how intense the symptoms are, the doctor may recommend different solutions. 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 not enough or you find the condition to be cosmetically unacceptable.

Where can you buy high-quality eyewear?

If you are looking for high-quality eyewear to prevent a surfer’s eye, it is always advisable to shop from reputed stores. 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 here 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 be showing any major signs yet. You may schedule an appointment with us or give us a call at 843-871-9750 to get in touch.

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