Summer Eye Care
Scorching heat of summer also brings in an increase in Eye problems. Our precious Eyes need extra care and protection from harmful rays of sun and dust during this time of the year. Here is some information that will help you safeguard your Eyes and maintain healthy sight not just this summer but for a lifetime.
Conjunctivitis: Chances of Eye infection are more in summers and monsoon, specially if you have been in public places, swimming or interacted with someone having conjunctivitis. It presents with redness, irritation, discharge and watering. To avoid Eye infections, wear sunglasses for outdoor activities, avoid touching or rubbing your Eyes, do frequent Eye wash with cold water, wear swimming goggles and make sure the pool you are using is being maintained well. If a family member has conjunctivitis, personal belongings like hand kerchief, towel etc should not be shared with others. Immediate treatment from Eye specialist is important as it will prevent the spread of infection to other person and worsening of the Eye condition.
Stye: Lid infections can be bothersome during summers. Keep the lids clean if you get recurrent stye (scrub the Eyelids with diluted baby shampoo on an ear bud-once a week), warm compress, local and oral antibiotics help under medical supervision. Recurrent stye are also related to uncorrected refractive error and muscle weakness
Eye Allergies: increase during summer due to pollen release into air, increased temperature. Fallen leaves from trees and the traffic pollution. There is itching and redness of Eyes along with burning sensation. Frequent washing of Eyes, cold compress, wearing of protective Eye glasses and Eye drops under supervision of Eye specialist will help in controlling the situation. Over the counter medicines should not be used as they may contain steroids and can be harmful in such situations.
Dry Eyes: become worse in summer due to increased temperature and rapid tear film evaporation. People prone for dry Eye have more problems with air conditioning. One should frequently wash the Eyes and can use preservative free lubricating Eye drops to get relief.
Ultraviolet rays: Harmful ultraviolet rays also cause damage to the lens (cataract) and retina (macular degeneration) and can be avoided by using proper UV protective sunglasses. The sunglasses must be labeled to block 99% to 100% of UVA or UV400 (400 nm is the wavelength of UVA radiation). Wrap-around sunglasses are a good option, as they prevent lateral exposure. Poor quality Eyewear is harmful; so invest in good quality Eyewear. Polarized lenses are recommended for activities like skiing, surfing and diving. Polycarbonate lenses are impact resistant and shatter proof making them a very good option for children.
Contact Lens users: need to take extra care in summer months as chances of infection are higher. Daily cleaning of contact lens should be followed religiously, do not wear the lens for more then recommended time and discard the lens within schedule time limit. One should not wear contact lens while swimming. Wear swimming goggles which protect the Eyes from waterborne bacteria and swimming pool chemicals.
Eyestrain: Examination time in schools puts pressure on Eyes as children tend to read for long hours. Parents should ensure that adequate lighting is provided while reading along with proper posture. Frequent Eye rest while reading is also important as Eye muscles go in for spasm if one reads continuously in one stretch thereby causing headache. Computer users should also take frequent Eye breaks (close Eyes for few seconds after every 10 minutes) and may use lubricating drops if there is dryness in Eyes.
Summer holiday's: are the right time for the parents to bring children for regular Eye checkup as many children may have undetected refractive errors. muscle weakness or squint .Proper Eye check up and spectacle prescription is important as this will enhance school performance also.
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.
Dr Parul M Sharma
MBBS, MS, DNB, FICO
Senior Eye Surgeon