How to Deal with Sore Eyes in Summer: Summer Eye Care Tips

Fact checked by Olga Sadouskaya, MD
Clinical Pharmacologist, Chief Medical Officer

It’s important not to underestimate the dangers of the summer heat. It’s a time of year when your body may experience a wide range of annoyances.

From an early age, many of us are taught to avoid being outside during extreme heat waves, to drink plenty of water, and to take other safety measures to avoid heat stroke. It’s true that all of these tips are useful, but eye care is frequently overlooked.

The rising temperatures and the sun’s searing rays can be unkind to sensitive eyes. Although dry eyes can occur at any time of year, they are more common in hotter months because the tear film in the eyes evaporates more quickly.

Keep reading to find out different treatment options for sore eyes, including eye pain relief drops, you can use this summer.

Common eye problems in summer

Most people don’t think much about potential eye issues over the summer because they’re too busy enjoying the weather, planning trips, and doing other exciting things. But there are several fairly frequent eye problems that can occur throughout the warmer months.


Conjunctivitis, sometimes known as pink eye, can affect either of your eyes. The eye may become red, itchy, and watery as a result of the disorder. It can be passed from one person to another through physical contact.


A stye is a small, inflamed bump that can form on one or both eyelids due to a bacterial infection. If you have a stye, your eye may hurt and become swollen and red. Styes can begin developing at an early age and are very prevalent in children.

Corneal burns

The skin is the first thing that comes to mind when most people think about sunburns. Corneal burns, caused by the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation, can cause temporary vision loss, dry eyes, and an unpleasant gritty sensation.

Sunglasses are the most practical way to prevent corneal burning. To be safe, choose a pair of sunglasses that block 100% of UV light.

A man rubbing his sore eyes

Eye allergies

The increased sensitivity of your eyes in the summer may be a result of the warmer weather and the increased levels of air pollution. Eye allergies in summer are often caused by pollen from trees, grasses, and weeds. Redness, itching, and burning are classic signs of these allergies. Wear sunglasses when you go outside to protect your eyes and try using artificial tears or antihistamine eye drops to help relieve itching and irritation.

Tired eyes

If you have a very hectic summer, you may find that you exhaust your eyes more quickly than normal. Many individuals lose sleep because they are having so much fun throughout the season, which may lead to red, tired eyes.

Giving your eyes a rest by sleeping longer is a great remedy for eye fatigue. Avoid using electronic devices since they tend to exacerbate eye strain.

Symptoms of sore eyes

Depending on the underlying cause, sore eyes may be mildly irritating to very painful. You may have a stinging or moderate burning sensation in the eyes. You may also experience discomfort when you shut your eyes or blink.

Some people with sore eyes experience sharp, sudden pain, while others describe a lingering discomfort.

Finding and treating the source of the pain is the most effective course of action. Eye pain relief drops, including pharmaceutical drops, and rest are standard remedies for eye discomfort.

Along with sore eyes, you may also experience symptoms such as:

  • Red, watery, itchy, dry, or irritated eyes
  • Double or blurred vision
  • Headache
  • Photophobia (light sensitivity)
  • Difficulty focusing

What can cause dry, sore eyes in summer?

Numerous factors, such as wind, air conditioning, fans, and direct and frequent exposure to UV rays, pollen, and smog can cause sore eyes.

Sun exposure

People tend to spend more time outside in the summer. The UV rays can irritate your eyes and make them red and watery. Lack of eye protection from the sun may also dry out eyes because the tear film on the eye can evaporate more rapidly.

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Contact with water

The pool is a popular place to relax during the hot summer months. However, it is important to take measures if you have chronic dry eyes.

Chlorine and other pool chemicals are known to irritate the protective barrier around the eye, leaving the eyes dry and more susceptible to infection.

Fans and air conditioning

While summer’s hot temperatures and higher humidity may be a relief for those with chronic dry eyes, it’s also important to consider the conditions in your house, car, or office.

Air conditioning often offers relief from the heat, but it can remove moisture from the air, exacerbating the symptoms of chronic dry eyes.

This is because keeping your eyes lubricated requires just a decent amount of moisture in the air. So sitting near a fan or in an air-conditioned space can worsen dry eyes.

How to treat sore eyes in summer

Sore eye treatment options can include the following:

  • Home care. Many conditions that cause eye discomfort are best treated by giving the eyes a break. You can try relaxing with your eyes closed if you’ve been experiencing eye strain from staring at a computer screen or TV.
  • Warm compress. If you have blepharitis or a stye, your doctor may recommend using a warm, wet cloth on your eyes. It can help unblock the oil gland or hair follicle and help the stye heal faster.
  • Antibiotics. Infections of the eye that are causing discomfort, such as conjunctivitis or corneal abrasions, can be treated with antibacterial drops and oral medications.
  • Eye drops. People with glaucoma can use pharmaceutical eye drops to alleviate the constant strain on their eyes. Artificial tears and other lubricating drops can help with dry eyes and styes.
  • Flushing. If anything irritating, such as a chemical or foreign object, gets into your eye, immediately cleanse it with water or a saline solution.

Summer eye care tips

Here are five tips to avoid sore eyes in summer.

1. Stay hydrated

Dehydration affects the eyes in the same way it does the rest of the body: It dries them up. When temperatures rise, it’s important to stay hydrated, particularly when you’re active.

Drinking eight to 10 glasses of water daily may help avoid flare-ups of dry, irritated eyes, especially in warmer weather.

2. Avoid touching your eyes

Bacteria and viruses thrive in the warm conditions of summer. Avoid touching or rubbing your eyes with dirty hands since this might spread infection.

Sunglasses in the sand as a way to protect eyes and prevent sore eyes in summer

3. Wear sunglasses

When going outdoors, your eyes may get irritated and red. Sunglasses are a great way to shield your eyes from the damaging effects of the sun, wind, and dirt while you’re out and about. Opt for a pair of wraparound sunglasses with UV protection to alleviate this problem.

4. Protect your eyes in public

If you’re taking your kids to the pool, make sure they’re equipped with goggles. If you have your makeup done in a public place, like a mall, you may be at risk of contracting an infection since so many other people will have touched the same tools and brushes. So make sure to be extra careful when you’re in a public space.

5. Use vitamins

Vitamins and minerals that are good for your eyes might be helpful if you have dry eye syndrome. You can mitigate your symptoms and improve your quality of life by including vitamins that increase eye health in your daily diet and sticking to a regular treatment regimen.

Summer is a great time to consider eating more foods that are high in vitamins C, E, and D since there are so many fresh fruits and vegetables available.

Bottom line

If you have chronic dry eyes, you may find some respite during the summer, but it also brings its own set of challenges. By keeping in mind that the summertime might exacerbate chronic dry eyes, you can take some easy measures to control and even avoid the condition.

Make an appointment with an eye doctor if your symptoms of sore eyes persist so that you can explore further treatment alternatives.

March 17, 2023