4 eye care tips when having a barbecue

Wednesday, 19 May 2021 by Vision Direct

People sitting at a table, eating barbecue food

Sunny days and balmy temperatures mean one thing: it's barbeque time! And whether you've chosen to take charge of the grill, or you'll get to kick back and enjoy a cold drink while someone el'se does the work, there are a few things to watch out for. We're talking about smoke, heat, and spicy ingredients - all of which can easily cause your eyes to become dry and irritated, especially if you wear contact lenses. Not to worry though - we've got the ultimate eye care guide for grilling, with comfortable vision.

Organise the right setup

First of all, creating the right setup is essential for a successful and eye-friendly experience. Make sure to tick off these things before starting the fire.

A man barbecuing food over a grill
  • Choose a safe and well-lit area: Opt for a location where the grill is stable and away from your pets, children and recreational activities. Plus, if you're hosting a barbeque in the evening, selecting a well-lit spot is also a must.
  • Pick the right utensils: Your usual kitchen utensils aren't up to the job, so definitely invest in some grilling-specific ones. By this, we mean sturdy, stainless steel forks, knives, spatulas and tongs, designed to withstand heat and allow you to saute at a safe distance.
  • Nominate a deputy grill cook: Having an extra pair of hands will be very helpful when you need more charcoal, to hold additional tools and to keep a watch over the fire, of course.
  • Wear grill-compatible clothes: Long sleeves are obviously a big no-no, as are clothes with strings that could easily catch on fire. Plus, donning an apron won't just help you look the part, it will also protect you from splashes of grease, lighter fluid, oil and charcoal. If lighter fluid comes into contact with your eyes, wash them out with water for 15 minutes and call your GP immediately.
  • Have some eye drops at hand: Blurry vision shouldn't get in the way of your barbecue, and having some eye drops nearby is a quick, easy way to seek instant relief from dry, itchy eyes. Our opticians recommend everclear Eye Drops for barbeques and beyond, given that the formula is natural yet effective and provides long-lasting comfort.

Steer away, spicy ingredients

Sometimes it's hard to resist grabbing something off the barbeque to snack on while it cooks. But trust us, you wouldn't want to touch your eyes with spicy sauce on your fingers! The last thing you want is a stinging, burning sensation throwing a spanner in your barbeque session. If you do happen to rub or touch your eyes and they become inflamed, try to stay calm and get a friend to apply a milk-soaked cloth over them to ease the pain.

You can avoid this awkward situation altogether by wearing latex gloves when chopping, being extremely careful when handling certain ingredients, and making sure to thoroughly wash your hands afterwards. The same goes for when you're putting in your contact lenses, as dirt or any debris can result in a nasty eye infection. Always wash your hands for 20 seconds, with warm, clean water, before drying them with a lint-free towel. If there's no soap around, add a pack of Vision Direct Soap Sheets to your eye care essentials to disinfect your hands wherever you are.

Two men sitting by a barbecue grill with sunglasses

You shall not pass, smoke

No matter what type of food item you put on the grill, your barbecue is likely to release smoke, ash, grease splatters and sparks of fire - whether you're the one cooking, or are sitting by enjoying the sun. The ultimate method of protecting your eyes from harm is, undoubtedly, a pair of safety goggles. But, if this seems a bit extreme and you don't want to look like a scuba diver while grilling, then sunglasses are less embarrassing and the next best thing.

Along with sunglasses and a hat (for good measure), picking contact lenses with a UV filter will give you another layer of protection from harmful sun rays. As constant exposure to the sun can result in eye conditions like cataracts and age-related macular degeneration down the line, taking some steps to keep them healthy is a no-brainer.

Step back, onions

Ever wondered why chopping onions can make you cry? Well, it’s simply because this vegetable contains a sulfur gas, which when released makes your eyes feel ultra-watery and irritated. Luckily, you can easily turn off the tears, with these 3 tips:

  • Chop or slice the onions with a sharp knife, which reduces the amount of gas released.
  • Put the onions in the freezer for 10-15 minutes before chopping them - the cold temperature absorbs some of the gas.
  • Wear your contact lenses, as these thin, yet powerful shields can block out irritating agents, proving to be an exceptional ally for cooking in general. Daily disposable contact lenses can be particularly handy and hygienic in and outside of the kitchen - if they get dirty, you can just take them out and pop in a new, fresh pair, easy-peasy.
A man watching his friend barbecue, with a box of everclear ELITE in his pocket

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Exclusive to Vision Direct, everclear ELITE lenses are super-comfy and convenient, with an ultra-hydrating formula to lock in moisture throughout your day. These daily disposable silicone hydrogel lenses are designed to keep your eyes feeling and looking healthy for up to 12 hours. Wearers with dry eyes will benefit from the hydrophilic design, formulated to put an end to irritations and prevent itchiness, making them ideal for alfresco activities and barbecues in the garden. Plus, UV blocking offers an extra layer of defence against harmful sun rays.

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