Summertime often brings a plethora of eye problems like itchiness, burning and dry eyes. The extreme heat conditions, intense rays of the sun and changes in the atmosphere due to the heat can trouble the eyes, which cannot hydrate themselves. Maintaining good eye care in summer is thus, very important, explains Dr Kasu Prasad Reddy, chief surgeon for cataract and refractive errors and founder of MaxiVision Super Specialty Eye Hospitals.
What are the common eye problems seen during summer?
The common eye problems that we find are dry eyes, itching sensation and burning of the eyes due to direct exposure to the sunlight, especially during peak hours. Some even suffer from visual disturbances.
Why does the problem of dry eyes aggravate during the summers?
The cornea is the only structure of the human body which has no blood supply because of which the water that one drinks does not reach the eyes. The eyes get their water from the atmosphere. Atmospheric variation like humidity, atmospheric pressure, pollution and content of oxygen and carbon dioxide affect the cornea, leading to dryness. Hence, while drinking sufficient water for the body is important, the eyes are not affected by the water that one drinks. That is a myth.
During summers, many people have boils on their eyelids. Is this due to the heat? Please explain.
A boil on the eyelid is an infected cyst and depending on the severity of the infection, pus can form and increase the pressure inside the cyst, causing severe pain. The normal treatment is to relieve the pressure by incising the boil and evacuating the pus by an ophthalmologist.
During summers, people splash cold water on their eyes twice or thrice, especially in the afternoons. Is that a good or recommended practice?
Yes, splashing of cold water helps. As the eyes depend on the atmospheric pressure for water, this external application gives them a coolant relief, and is hence, highly recommended.
Should people suffering from diabetes, hypertension and cancer take special care of their eyes in summer? Do the medicines generate heat, leading to redness in their eyes?
Medications have side-effects and it can lead to dryness in the eyes. Diabetics are more prone to metabolic variations that can aggravate the dryness while pollution affects the cornea. Therefore, they need to be more careful in summer than non-diabetics.
What is the care regime that swimmers must follow for their eyes?
Swimmers have to be careful as there are lots of people in the pools during summer. Eyes can get itchy or if there is redness, then it is a sign of allergy from the chemicals that are mixed in the swimming pool. If that happens, they have to consult a doctor and get treated accordingly. As a rule, swimmers must splash normal water on their eyes after every swimming session.
Conjunctivitis is a major problem in summers. How does it occur and how can it be treated?
Conjunctivitis can be viral, bacterial or fungal. Viral conjunctivitis usually comes as an epidemic and spreads more in the summer, but these days it is occurring throughout the year in one part of the country or the other.
Bacterial and fungal conjunctivitis is not specific to a season but is more related to the immune system of an individual and should be immediately treated by an eye doctor. In all cases, affected people should not shake hands with others and maintain their own towels etc.
Home remedies for eye care in summer
1. Keep cucumber slices in the fridge and place them on the eyes every day for 10 minutes
2. Wear dark glasses when you are outdoors
3. Use artificial tear drops if the eyes are dry
4. Cover your eyes with swimming goggles if you swim
5. Take care of your hygiene in summers and wash hands frequently as rubbing one's eyes with dirty hands can set off infections