Umbrellas, scarves and sunscreen are used in various permutation and combinations to protect our skin from the scorching summer sun, but few people give a second thought to protecting the other most sensitive sensory organ of the human body — our eyes.

Eyes are as prone to summer damage as the skin and must be a part of all summer-care protective measures. Here are five tips to secure the health of our eyes during the hot days ahead.

Get protective eyewear

Sunglasses are must-haves in summer. Our eyes need protection against harmful ultraviolet rays of the sun that can cause severe eye damage, including cataract and macular degeneration, among others. Choose good quality sunglasses that protect your eyes from both UVA and UVB rays.

Maintain personal hygiene

Sweat exposes us to all kinds of germs and bacteria all day long. Rubbing gritty and dry eyes with unclean hands can lead to allergies and infections, so wash your hands frequently.

Keep eyes lubricated

Dry eyes may exacerbate in when temperatures rise. The airconditioned rooms that circulate dehumidified air also contribute to eye dryness, which can be relieved with over-the-counter lubricants. Chronic dryness needs to be treated in consultation with the ophthalmologist.

Drink lots of water

Dehydration also leads to dry and irritable eyes because lack of water prevents the tear glands from producing tears to keep the eyes moist.

Eye allergies

Eye allergies often flare up around this time of the year. If your eyes feel red, itchy and tired for more than a day, consult an ophthalmologist for an anti-allergic eye-drops prescription.

Use swimming goggles

No other activity feels as refreshing as swimming, but don’t jump in the water without swimming goggles. The chlorine in swimming pools can be extremely harmful to the eyes, so splash your eyes with clean water the moment you step out.

Dr Ritika Sachdev is an ophthalmic surgeon at the Centre for Sight, New Delhi