Summer calls for overall health precautions in which protection of eyes is very important. Doctors advise people to take proper care as any carelessness may lead to harming of eyes, sometimes permanently.
A senior ophthalmologist said scorching heat may cause allergies, which are more common among children. The common symptoms of allergies are redness of eyes, itching, watering and burning sensation.
In an interview with the Observer, Muscat-based ophthalmologist Dr Mukund Nayak advised people living in hot weather conditions and even those who are planning any journey during this time, to protect their eyes, which need extra care during summer.
“The peak summer has already begun in Oman. Protection of eyes and preventing any serious effects of scorching sun is very important.”
People, according to him, are always more concerned about protection of their skin. But, eyes also need extra care during summer as the rise in temperature and pollutants in the air makes your eyes vulnerable for allergies.
Among the eye infections conjunctivitis is common during summer, especially viral conjunctivitis which is highly contagious. Again children are more prone to contract this infection and better to avoid school until the child recovers.
Sty infection is also common during summer. This is a bacterial infection of the glands of the eyelids. A patient with this infection suffers from severe pain on the eyelids, swelling and sometimes discharge of pus from the swelling.
“Dryness of eyes is very common during summer. Dryness happens with the tear film gets evaporated due to the heat. Drinking excess of water and wearing good quality sunglasses will help to combat dryness. Six to eight hours of sleep is essential for eyes also. This will help your eyes to rejuvenate in natural way,” Dr Mukund suggested.
He advised to splash cold water in both eyes few times a day to relieve symptoms of dryness. “If dryness is severe, consult your ophthalmologist for artificial tears. Burning sensation, redness, irritation, pricking sensation in both eyes, difficulty to open eyes in the morning are the common symptoms of dryness.” He strongly recommended wearing good quality sunglasses during summer. Ultraviolet and infrared rays from the normal sunlight might damage of retina causing scar formation, which is a permanent damage to the eyes.
This will have a cumulative effect on the retina and children also should wear protective sunglasses when they are exposed to the sunlight, he says.
“A pair of slightly curved sunglasses which cover the entire eyes including part of the cheeks and forehead is also important. Wearing a large sun hat also protect sunrays directly entering into the eyes.” He asked the sunglass users to be careful as any colour sunglasses are alright. Dark brown or dark black sunglasses give better effect.
“Too much exposure to the UV rays can cause early cataract, pterygium which is a fleshy growth on the conjunctiva, scarring of the retina, photokeratitis and photoconjunctivitis, commonly called ‘snow blindness’.” Constant exposure might also cause cancer of the eyelids called ‘basal cell carcinoma’.
He recommended eating healthy food and drinking plenty of water. “Food items which are rich in antioxidants prevent macular degeneration and preserve good vision. Add vitamin A, E, C and Zinc as supplementation which are required for good eye health. Adequate sleep is also important for good eye health. This also prevents dry eyes,” he said.