Hyderabad, April 2023: As summer approaches, we tend to prioritize drinking plenty of water and staying hydrated while also taking extra care of our health, skin, and hair. However, we often overlook the health of our eyes. To prevent permanent damage to our eyes and vision during summer, experts from the L V Prasad Eye Institute offer important tips for good eye health.
The intense heat of the sun and the high level of pollutants in the air can make our eyes susceptible to infections, redness, itching and inflammation. In summer, there is more dust, pollen, and several other substances in the air, which can elicit eye allergies (allergens). Dust mites (small insects) thrive in numbers during summer, and their residue can spread in the air and elicit an allergic response in the eyes. Moreover, due to hot and dry climate, the tear film on the eye gets evaporated faster, causing a burning sensation and irritation in the eyes. This becomes more prominent in patients with dry eyes.
Dr Akhil Bevara from the Kallam Anji Reddy Campus of L V Prasad Eye Institute in Hyderabad advice, “During the summer season, we see a surge in cases of conjunctivitis (red/pink eye), eye allergies, dry eyes and other eye infections and redness. Intense exposure to ultraviolet rays during summer can harm the eyes in several ways. It can lead to the formation of pterygium (a layer) on the surface of the eye, cataract, and other ocular/eye problems. The dry air and direct exposure to air conditioners can also result in dry eyes. Hence, taking appropriate precautions during summer can help you prevent eye problems. If you experience redness or itchiness in the eyes, don’t take over-the-counter medications and consult an ophthalmologist immediately.” If a person is vulnerable to eye allergy, they should visit an ophthalmologist and begin on medicines in advance to help reduce discomfort during the season. The cases of allergic conjunctivitis increase in summer, particularly in children, and they experience itchiness, redness, watering and white rope-like discharge from eyes.
How to take care of your eyes during summer:
Avoid direct exposure to sunlight:
· Avoid direct exposure to sunlight unless essential, especially during peak time of heat i.e. 10am to 2pm when the UV rays are at their strongest.
· Use appropriate sunglasses which block UV rays: One should not get fooled by the color or the cost of the lenses but look for a certificate that states that the lenses can block at least 98% of UV rays. Ideally, these glasses should wrap all around the eyes so that the sunlight does not reach the eyes from the sides.
· Using a hat or an umbrella when outdoors prevents direct exposure of the eyes to sunlight.
Maintain good hygiene:
· Maintain good personal hygiene and wash your hands frequently.
· Avoid rubbing your eyes.
· Frequent cleaning of the eyes with clean cold water will wash away the dust particles and allergens that cause itching.
· Avoid sharing handkerchiefs, towels, napkins, bed sheets, pillow covers etc.
· Avoid going to crowded places and dusty environments.
Take adequate precautions while going for swimming:
· It’s fun to swim during summer but ensure that you wear protective glasses. Also be sure of the cleanliness and appropriate level of chlorination of water.
· Keeping a cold compress on closed eyelids: A cooler temperature helps reduce itching by making chemical mediators that cause itching become less effective.
· Instillation of artificial lubricating eye drops and avoiding direct exposure to air conditioning, etc., help reduce the discomfort for those who experience dry eyes.