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Scorching summer heat can cause numerous problems for your eyes. It is important to care and protect our eyes from the harmful ultraviolet rays of sun and dust especially during this time of the year. Dr. Parul Sharma describes about few common problems that you may witness in monsoon alongside few tips that will safeguard your eyes for a lifetime.
Conjuctivitis - Summers and monsoons are the most common seasons where the chances of having an eye infection increase drastically. This happens more often if you have been travelling, been in public places, swimming or interacting with a person who is suffering from conjunctivitis. The common symptoms are redness, irritation, white discharge and watery eyes. In order to avoid eye infections it is advisable that you wash your hands with soap & water frequently, wear sunglasses when outdoor, refrain from touching/rubbing your eyes, frequently wash your eyes with cold RO water, wear swimming goggles, and ensure that the pool you are using is maintained well. In case, any of your family members is suffering from conjunctivitis, avoid sharing their personal belongings like handkerchief or towel. Make sure that you visit an eye specialist to avoid further spreading of infection and worsening your eye condition.
Stye - This primarily occurs on the eyelids and can be bothersome during summers/monsoons. Try to keep the lids clean if there is a recurrent stye, get blood sugar levels checked and identify for any uncorrected refractive error and muscle weakness. You can scrub your eyelids with a diluted baby shampoo with an ear bud once in a week, warm compressions can be relieving, local or oral antibiotics can be taken under medical supervision. Again hand hygiene is an important part of prevention.
Eye Allergies- Theycan increase in summer due to pollen release in air, increase in temperature and pollution. You can have red eyes, severe itching and burning sensation. It is important that you frequently wash your eyes with cold filtered water, do cold compressions, wear protective eye glasses and put eye drops under the supervision of an eye specialist. Do not use over the counter medicines as they contain steroids and can be really harmful in such situations.
Dry eyes - Increase in temperature as well as rapid tear film evaporation can cause dry eyes in summer. People prone to dry eyes have symptoms increasing with use of laptop, computer and air conditioning. It is advisable that they should frequently close their eyes for few seconds every ten minutes and use preservative free lubricating eye drops for instant relief.
Ultraviolet rays - UV rays can cause serious damage to the lens (cataract) and retina (macular degeneration) and hence can be avoided by using UV protective sunglasses. Keep in mind that sunglasses must be labeled to block 99% to 100% UV rays or UV400 (400 nm is the wavelength of UVA radiation). You can use Wrap-around sunglasses as they prevent lateral exposure; polarized lenses for activities like skiing, surfing and diving; and polycarbonate lenses as they are impact resistant and shatter proof and a good option for children.
Contact lens users must take extra precaution during summers as chances of infection are high. Clean your lenses daily and do not wear them for more than recommended period of time plus discard them within their schedule time limit. Try to avoid wearing contact lenses while swimming instead wear swimming goggles that will provide protection from waterborne bacteria and swimming pool chemicals. Never sleep with contact lens on.
Eyestrain - During examination time, there is immense pressure put on children’s eyes as they are forced to read for long hours. Parents must ensure that there is adequate lighting while reading along with correct posture. Frequent eye rest is also important as eye muscles can face spasms if one reads continuously at a stretch leading to a headache. Computer users should take frequent eye breaks (close eyes for few seconds after every 10 minutes) and use lubricating drops in case there is any dryness in eyes.
During Summer holidays Parents must ensure that they bring their child for a regular eye check up as several children may have undetected refractive errors, muscle weakness or squint. Regular eye check up and spectacle prescription is important to enhance performance in school. It can also be a reminder time for
Annual eye checkup for all diabetics, thyroid patients and people having family history of eye problems like glaucoma. Last but not the least - Do not forget to supplement your diet with green vegetables, carrots, nuts, red and yellow fruits. These are natural source of vitamin A and caretenoids, which are any day better then taking multivitamin pills.