Surviving Festival Season: Eye to Z

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NEW YORK—It’s that time of the year again, festival season! As the second weekend of Coachella kicks off, music festival style has become just as important as the performers. While festival fashion reigns supreme (including sunwear) what often falls to the wayside is eye health and protection. Hours in the sun at various festivals in a range of climates from Coachella and Bonnaroo to Governor’s Ball and Lollapalooza can take its toll on our eye health leaving them dry and irritated. Here are some things to take into consideration before heading out to a weekend of fun, sun, music and a camera roll full of Instagram pics.

Sunglasses Are a Must


The Chloe "Rosie" sunglass from Marchon Eyewear.
When it comes to protecting our eyes during these long days of music and perfecting those angles for the ideal Instagram shot, donning a pair of sunglasses is often the first thing that comes to mind. This popular fashion accessory also doubles as a very important protective barrier against the sun’s harmful rays. According to the NEI, “When purchasing sunglasses, look for ones that block out 99 percent to 100 percent of both UVA and UVB radiation, so you can keep your vision sharp and eyes healthy.” An additional perk is that sunglasses also do a pretty good job of preventing sand or dust from getting into the eye.

Slather on the SPF


Along with sunwear it’s also extremely important to apply (and reapply) sunscreen accordingly while outside enjoying the events during music festivals. Sunglasses are a great way to protect our eyes, but you can never be too careful, and SPF is a great way to protect those areas around the eyes that might not be shielded by sunwear (especially if you’re into the micro-sunglass trend). The tissue around our eyes is extremely thin and fragile. According to NPR, the tissue around our eyes is the thinnest on our body, less than 1 millimeter thick and this fragile skin is susceptible to the sun’s UV rays. In fact, 5 percent to 10 percent of skin cancers occur on the eyelid, NPR stated. So, when applying sunscreen prior to going out don’t forget to target the area around your eyes, and if you’re afraid of creams getting in your eyes and causing discomfort, opt for a facial moisturizer with SPF or sunblock that is specifically formulated to be used on the face.

Keep Eyes Hydrated

Lubricating eye drops can also be an integral part of getting through a weekend of music and battling the elements, and many of these can be purchased OTC. This tip is important when thinking about what climate you’re spending all day in. Events in dryer areas and those with a lot of wind can do a number on our eye lubrication especially for those who wear contact lenses.

According to All About Vision, “Lubricating eye drops, also known as artificial tears, can provide relief for short-term dry eyes, when the cause is related to temporary circumstances such as computer eye strain, being outdoors in windy and sunny conditions, and tiredness.”

However, if you do wear contact lenses it’s best to check with your optometrist first before settling on a specific eye drop. “If you choose to use regular OTC lubricating eye drops while wearing contacts, check with your eyecare practitioner to see if your contact lens type is compatible with the eye drop you're considering. Unlike rewetting drops, many eye drops—OTC or prescription—are not intended for contact lens wearers, and you may need to remove your lenses before applying the drops to your eyes,” All About Vision stated on its website.

Don’t Forget Makeup Removal


Another method of eye health that doesn’t usually come to mind is proper makeup removal, especially eye makeup. We all want to put our best face forward but at the end of the day, it’s incredibly important to properly remove our makeup along with whatever dirt, sweat and bacteria has found its way onto our faces throughout the day.

Sleeping in makeup can cause unwanted breakouts, eye irritation and at worst eye infections. However, it’s best to stay away from harsh cleaning products when it comes to the sensitive areas around our eyes. We Love Eyes, an optometrist-developed and formulated cleansing system for the eyes, provides a range of products for keeping the eyes clean and healthy.