How to Keep Your Prosthetic Eye from Drying Out in the Heat
In the heat of the summer, you may have noticed your prosthetic eye feeling ‘sweaty’ and uncomfortable. The question is — what should you do about it?
There are several reasons why this happens in the summer time, and there are some simple steps you can take to stay comfortable no matter what the thermometer says.
Why Does My Prosthesis Feel Dry and Sticky in the Summer Heat?
Depending on your environment, there are several reasons why this might happen.
1. Your tear film is evaporating faster
Water evaporates faster in the heat. Your tear film has three layers. If the water layer thins out too much, it can cause your prosthesis to lose its lubrication and start rubbing uncomfortably against your eye socket.
2. Particulates in the air
In most places, summer brings drier weather in addition to the heat. With dry weather, you also get more dust in the air, and in some places, smoke from wildfires. Propelled by the wind, all these particulates can contribute to your prosthesis drying out faster, because your eyes have to work that much harder to stay lubricated, keeping out all the debris.
And if the particulates get inside your eye socket, that can get uncomfortable fast.
Like particulates, allergens tend to be more prolific in the warmer months. These can have a similar effect on your eyes as the dust and smoke, especially if they find a place to nestle.
4. Air conditioned interiors
Air conditioners don’t actually work the way many people think. They work in part by removing moisture out of the air inside the building. That means, if you’re using the AC a lot in the summer, the air in your home is probably drier than normal. Drier air will affect the lubrication of your eyes and the thickness of your tear film.
5. Outdoor and sports activities
Biking, hiking, swimming, and any outdoor competitive sports cause your body to lose moisture more quickly because it’s working so hard in addition to the heat. Lower hydration, as mentioned earlier, also affects the water layer of your tear film and the lubrication it provides. You may also increase the chances of your artificial eye being compromised by dirt and sweat.
When swimming in a pool, we recommend wearing goggles. The chlorine will reduce the comfort level of your prosthesis the longer it’s exposed.
How to Preserve Maximum Comfort for Your Prosthesis in the Summer
You can use one or more of the following ideas to stay comfortable in the heat.
1. Use high viscosity lubricants
Using lubricants with high viscosity is the single best thing you can do to ensure your prosthetic eye stays comfortable. Viscosity is a measure of the ‘thickness’ of a liquid. It’s more gooey. And this is what you want instead of just eye drops, which don’t last very long especially in the heat.
The lubricant supports the oil layer of your tear film, thus protecting the water layer even more and keeping it from evaporating. For long lasting comfort, this is your best solution. Shop for prosthetic eye lubricants here.
2. Stay hydrated
Keeping fluids in your body also helps your eyes preserve the tear film’s ideal thickness. Especially if you’re outside expending energy and using up your body’s water supply, staying hydrated will help keep your prosthetic eye more comfortable.
3. Wear eye protection during sports
Especially during outdoor activities, but also just walking around outside if there is a lot of smoke or particulate matter in the air, eye protection will keep debris from your prosthesis and protect it from impact.
Learn more about playing sports with a prosthetic eye
4. Wear an eye patch
Full eye protection isn’t always appropriate. But eye patches work great, and this too works well to protect your prosthesis from particulates and debris. If the news is talking about wildfire smoke in your area, slipping on an eyepatch before going outside is about the simplest thing you can do to maintain your comfort level. Shop here for eye patches
Here are 5 tips to making your eye patch comfortable to wear
Hot weather doesn’t have to impact the comfort of your artificial eye. Take some precautions and experiment to find your ideal combination of artificial tears and lubricant (we have a guide on finding the best prosthetic eye lubricant, too) and you’ll be much more prepared.
Still struggling or just have questions? Contact the professionals at Northwest Eye Design.