How to Care for Your Eyes in NYC

Traveling to New York City is definitely a dream come true. But have you ever thought about the importance of how to care for your eyes in NYC?

Observatory in New York City with Empire State Building in the back

For most travelers, health and fitness often take a backseat in favor of all the exciting things you have planned.

However, it’s important to remember that you can only really make the most of a vibrant city like New York if you’re well enough to do so. This is why NYC visitors are reminded to observe healthy practices by doing things like walking for exercise and using hand sanitizer for safety.

That said, another wellness aspect you shouldn’t overlook is eye health. Given all the sights to appreciate, people to meet, and activities to try in the Big Apple, your eyes are definitely going to see a lot of action (pun intended!).

To ensure you’re seeing and enjoying everything this concrete jungle and cultural melting pot has to offer, here are a few simple but effective eye care tips. Take notes on how to care for your eyes in NYC.


Wear sunglasses

NYC is not known for its sunny climate, but that doesn’t mean the sun is any less forgiving here. In fact, Project Sunscreen notes that New York receives moderate UV rays on average. This is enough to cause sun damage, which can result in photokeratitis in the eyes.

Although temporary, this sunburn on the clear part of the cornea can cause blurry vision, redness, swelling, and photosensitivity. Aside from this, Climate Central explains that all the buildings and skyscrapers in New York can actually absorb and radiate huge amounts of heat and light that make the city up to eight degrees Fahrenheit hotter.

Because many of these structures are made from steel and glass, they can also reflect UV rays into the eyes and cause painful glare.

To protect your eyes from these, wear your sunglasses regularly. Look for brands like Oakley, which have 100% UV filters to block out sun damage.

If you already have refractive issues, go for prescription sunglasses instead. These marry protection and correction, as they use standard shades with UV-filtering lenses that have your own prescription applied to them.

If you want to safeguard your eyes even more, brands like Ray-Ban and Micheal Kors even offer models with polarized coatings to block out harsh glare. Remember, even if it looks overcast in New York, you’re better off wearing your shades. Throughout the day UV damage is often progressive.


Use eye drops

It’s no secret that big cities typically have lackluster air quality. On average, Swiss company IQAir states that New York’s air quality index falls under 50, which puts it under good. However, last year’s wildfires did see NYC air quality spike to 160.

Either way, metropolitan areas like New York will likely have higher concentrations of fine particulate air matter. This comes from pollution from cars, structures, and even personal emissions from using aerosols or vapes. For your eyes, exposure to this kind of air and particulate matter can cause significant irritation.

One way to combat this is with eye drops. Specifically, drops meant for lubrication can help soothe irritated eyes. This is because they mimic natural tears that can wash out any irritants while providing moisture for the eyes.

In worse-case scenarios where larger debris gets in the eyes, these drops can even help safely remove them before they cause any corneal abrasions. Brands like Visine are readily available over the counter, so you can bring these along with you and lubricate your eyes as needed. If you do have existing eye issues, you’ll want to consult with an optician who can prescribe specialty drops.

These include variants like steroids or antibiotic drops that can address both your condition and the air quality in NYC.


Keep your health insurance updated

New York is known for its world-class healthcare providers, like Mount Sinai and Lenox Hill. However, medical bills can be pretty costly. For instance, a 2022 Optyx post estimates that an eye exam in the city can run up to $95 without insurance.

As it is, though, getting healthcare insurance in the city can cost you a pretty penny, too. Value Penguin says that the median monthly cost of health insurance in NY can exceed $800.

To work your way around this, make sure to get your health insurance in order before your trip to the Big Apple. Because most other states have significantly lower health service prices, insurance costs are typically lower, too.

For example, the average health insurance premium in Florida is just under $500 per month. With this settled before you even get to New York, you won’t have to worry about breaking your budget should you experience any pressing ocular health issues.

Having your insurance with vision coverage will also give you peace of mind, allowing you to enjoy NYC more comfortably and confidently.

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