Summer is a taxing time for the eyes. This takes away the fun of vacation, travel and other leisure activities. However, with a little care, you can overcome common issues with eyes.
A. Conjunctivitis, also called Madras Eye, as the virus causing the ailment was first identified in Chennai during the early 20th century, is a common condition during summers. Being a contagious ailment, Conjunctivitis spreads quickly among family members, or among children who play together. To limit the condition, the patient must not touch his/her eyes often or rub the same. Other people should avoid contact with the patient or avoid touching objects touched by the patient. Those affected by the ailment must avoid taking over-the-counter drugs and consult an ophthalmologist, as there are various causes for the ailment.
Other tips to avoid getting infected with the virus are:
- Do not share towels, napkins, handkerchiefs, bedsheets, pillows, clothes with the patient
- The patient must wash his/her hands frequently and with soap
- Do not get into crowded places
- The patient must not use a handkerchief and must use cotton swabs to wipe the eye. Once used, the swabs must be discarded properly.
B. Eye Allergies: Summer is also the time when particulate matter in the air is at an all-time high. Pollen left behind from spring gone by, and dust raised by drying soil fills up the air. Further, dust mites, which are microscopic insects, tend to multiply rapidly in summer. All these factors make summer a time for allergy in the eyes, for a lot of people.
- Avoid entering dusty surroundings
- Wash your eyes with cold water a few times a day. This will help wash away the allergens from your eyes.
- Use goggles or sunglasses when you are outdoors
- Visit an ophthalmologist a few weeks before the start of summer, so that you can take some preventive medication
- Keep a handkerchief dipped in cold water on your closed eyes. This provides relief from the burning sensation and renders the allergens less effective
- Use vacuum cleaner to clean your homes and furniture thoroughly every day, during summers
- If you are getting into a swimming pool, wear protective glasses and ensure the water is clean and chlorinated
C. Dry Eyes: The eyes have a lubricating layer of tears to provide a comfort level to the person. In some people, this layer tends to dry quickly leading to dry and itchy eyes. During summers, the condition gets even worse. Meet an ophthalmologist who will prescribe artificial lubricating eye drops. Such people should also avoid air-conditioned environments.
D. Damage from UV radiation: UV rays in sunlight can get harsh during summers. In some people, it triggers conditions such as retinal problems, cataract or the formation of pterygium which is a thin layer on the eyes. Since it's difficult to know who is vulnerable to this and who isn't, people should take the following precautions:
- During peak hours of the day which is 10am to 2pm, UV rays are very strong. Avoid direct exposure to sunlight in this time, unless unavoidable
- Wear sunglasses in order to block UV rays as much as possible. Look for specifications about the glasses as anything less than 98% blocking of UV rays is not good enough. Also ensure the glasses wrap around the eyes including the sides too.
- Wear a hat or use an umbrella when you are going outdoors, and avoid looking up at the sun.
To conclude, summer need not be a difficult time for you or your eyes. Follow these tips and you can enjoy this season like any other.
- Ensure personal hygiene to avoid infections of any type
- Avoid direct sunlight or looking at the sun, especially during peak hours of the day
- Use sunglasses when you are outdoors and choose glasses that cover your eyes on all sides
- Avoid self medication and always visit an Ophthalmologist for any eye ailments