Summer Eye Care

Thu May 15 2014

Summers can indeed wreck havoc with your eyes. ” The increased temperature and pollution can make one vulnerable to eye allergies, resulting in itching, redness, and burning sensations. Some basic precautions can help,” says Dr Ritika Sachdev, additional director, medical services, Centre for Sight. Experts say that simple eye- friendly measures can go a long way. ” It takes some basic moves like washing eyes with clean, filtered water, using lubricating drops ( with an eye specialist’s recommendation) and sunglasses in preventing a dozen problems,” says Dr Sachdev. Conjuctivitis is also making its appearance. ” If you notice signs like redness of eyes, watery eyes, pricking sensation, or other discharge, it is important to seek treatment immediately,” advises Dr Sharma. The problem of dry eye syndrome is common during summer. ” This condition occurs as a result of increase in temperature and rapid tear film evaporation. Increased exposure to air conditioning also dries up the tear films in the eyes. For people who report dry eyes, lubricating eye drop prescribed by a doctor is advisable” says Dr Sharma. The other problem that is reported is the surfer’s eyes. ” It is caused by sun damage and is common among people like surfers whose exposure to sun is huge. It can be simply avoided by wearing sunglasses with good UV protection,” says Dr Nishant Ganguly, Delhi- based eye specialist. As the experts say, it takes not much to soothe and restore your eyes.

Appropriate eyewear is not only a fashion accessory but also essential. To protect eyes from intense heat, you should always opt for sunglasses which cover the whole eyes and block both UVA and UVB radiation. The lens tint should block 80 per cent of transmissible light but no more than about 90 per cent of light, or it will be hard for you to see. People who wear prescription glasses need not fret. They do not have to alternate between prescription glasses and sunglasses as they move around. Today, the market has photochromic lenses ( varying tint) which automatically adjust to the level of UV light they are exposed to, going from exceptionally clear indoors to dark outdoors. UV rays- blocking eyeglasses provide the most complete and convenient eyewear to shield the eye from harmful effects of UV rays. While most prescription lenses offer some UV ray protection, not all are equally effective. Use plastic photochromic lenses that block 100 per cent UV radiation and enhance visual comfort by preventing eye fatigue and reducing glare.

Just like your skin, your eyes can burn too. In fact, these may be at a greater risk from the sun than the skin. So, arm yourself with SPF ( Sun Protection Factor); this time, for your eyes. ” Skin has the capacity to adapt to UV radiation by producing melanin ( tan) that protects against UV exposure. The eyes don’t develop a tolerance to UV rays, but become more sensitive with repeated exposure and the effect on them is cumulative,” says Dr Sachdev. {mosimage}It is also important to note that reflective UV light, or glare from water, sand, snow and even the road can have a debilitating effect on the eyes, she adds. And even on cloudy days, up to 80 per cent of UV rays can pass through; so, the importance of protecting your eyes from UV exposure should not be overlooked, whatever be the weather. ” The natural reaction of the eye when exposed to direct light is to squint, as it tries to block out the glare, which is at best uncomfortable, and at worst squinting not only causes eye fatigue but also encourages the development of unsightly facial fine lines and wrinkles,” explains Dr Sachdev. The main problem lies in overexposure to ultraviolet light, which can cause damage to the retina, and other eye problems. ” Those who are invariably exposed to UV rays for a long time are more likely to have painful temporary eye injuries called photokeratitis and photoconjunctivitis,” says Dr Sanjay Dhawan, director, ophthalmology, Fortis Healthcare. As the heat of summer increases, the effect of UV rays double in this season. Those who live at the seaside area or desert are at increased risk of eye damage because the UV rays reflections off water, sand and concrete and glasses can inflame the eyes within minutes, he adds. More seriously, WHO estimates that 20 per cent of cataracts are primarily due to sun damage and excessive UV exposure has resulted in the development of skin cancers, of which 10 per cent occur on the eyelids. It is, therefore, advisable to avoid direct exposure to ultraviolet rays by using UV protective contact lenses and sunglasses. (Inputs by Dr Ritika Sachdev and Dr Sanjay Dhawan)

Article: Eyeing Summer With Care
Author: Nalini Ravichandran | Mail Today | April 29, 2014 | UPDATED 13:13 IST
Publication: India Today
Read more at:

*The views expressed here are solely those of the author in his private capacity and do not in any way represent the views of Centre for Sight.

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