Monday, April 16, 2012

Now the sun's out, take extra care to keep eyes healthy

Eye is one of the finest gift God has given to the mankind. Beautiful eyes sparkle if you take care of your eyes with some attention and regular checkups. It begins with lifestyle issues like what you really eat. Green leafy vegetables, carrots, liver, cod liver oil, nuts and red or yellow fruits are essential. The food should be fresh and natural. There is no point in loading oneself with self prescribed supplementary doses of Vitamin-A. Protection of eyes and its maintenance should be given utmost importance.

The rays from the sun are divided into three categories: Ultra Violet C, Ultra Violet B and Ultra Violet A rays, all of which can have some affect on your eye health.

UVC rays are the most powerful UV rays and could be most harmful to your eyes. Fortunately the ozone layer blocks nearly all UVC rays. 

UVB rays are filtered partially by the ozone layer, but some reach us on the earth. Eyes can become sunburn due to UVB rays.
UVA have a lower energy than UVB and UVC. However UVA rays penetrate the cornea and reach the lens and retina inside the eye. It may lead to development of macular degeneration and cataracts. Sunglasses that block 99–100 percent of both UV-A and UV-B rays; a wide-brimmed hat; and for those who wear contact lenses, Wrap-around sunglasses and wide-brimmed hats add extra protection because they help block UV rays from entering the eyes from the sides and above.

Allergic disorders of the eye increase during summer. Increased temperature and the traffic pollution make a person (especially children) prone for eye allergies. 

There is lot of itching and redness of eyes along with burning sensation. Wash eyes with cold water twice a day; avoid rubbing of eyes and walking in dusty areas.

Infection in the eye in the form of conjunctivitis is also common in summer. This is characterized by redness of eyes, pricking sensation, discharge and watering in eyes. Immediate treatment from eye specialist is important as it will prevent the spread of infection to other person and worsening of the eye condition. 

Eyelid swelling, redness and pain occur when there is bacterial infection of the eyelids like stye. In such cases again proper eye hygiene along with hot compress, analgesic tablets and antibiotics (oral) will help under medical supervision.

Dry eye syndrome has become very common in summer due to increased temperature and rapid tear film evaporation. 

For any of the eye condition, it is important that the person consult a qualified eye specialist (ophthalmologist) in order to assess the situation and get proper treatment. Self medication should be avoided.

It is possible to prevent or minimize these harmful effects of summer by taking the following precaution:

1. Avoid going out in the sun, especially in peak hours, unless necessary

2. Wear appropriate goggles when going out, it is more useful to have goggles that cover the side of temples. This will limit exposure not only to heat and ultra violet rays,
but will also prevent dust from entering the eye and any foreign body damaging the eye

3. It is advisable to avoid contact with animal dung and going to dump areas, or areas with thick vegetation and trees, in order to limit exposure to possible allergens.

4. Care of personal hygiene is important. Regular washing of hands and face is recommended. However, frequent washing of eyes is not advisable, as it washes away antibodies present in tear. Rubbing of eyes with dirty hands can aggravate the problem, leading to infections, pus formation and boils over eyelids, known as sties.

5. Air conditioners help to filter air and to limit exposure to allergens. However, if one has irritation in eyes, then sitting directly in front of the air conditioner is not advisable.

6. It is important to limit the use of contact lenses in dusty environment. Proper cleaning and storage should be followed.

7. Use of makeup, especially eye makeup, should be avoided as far as possible, especially if already there is itching and irritation. It is important to remove all trace of make up before sleeping. Even if one uses make up, select appropriate brands and once opened, discard the particular cosmetic within six month. Remember not to share make up with others.

8. It is advisable to take lots of fluids to avoid dehydration, which can indirectly affect tear formation.

9. Lubricant eye drops can be used on a regular basis, after consultation with your eye specialist.

10. It is important to consult an eye specialist at the earliest, if there is redness, watering or itching of eye. If the infection or recurrent condition like vernal keratoconjunctivitis is not treated appropriately, they can cause further damage to the cornea.

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