With the weather becoming hotter and in some places drier, our eyes can get badly affected. Some conditions like allergic conjunctivitis characterised by redness of eyes, itching, foreign body sensation and watering of eyes get aggravated during summer. They need proper evaluation by the ophthalmologist for appropriate management.
Here are a few general tips by Dr Tandava Krishnan, Senior consultant, Maxivision super speciality eye hospitals, Madhapur, Hyderabad, to ensure the optimal health and functioning of our eyes during summer.
Use goggles for protection from UV rays. With increasing temperature and direct exposure to sunlight, there is exposure to harmful UV (Ultraviolet) rays. These may result in damage to the cornea causing pain and burning sensation. Additionally, UV rays may result in progression of cataract and age-related macular degeneration. Most of the readily available cooling glasses have the ability to block UV-B rays but not the UV-A rays. It is advisable to purchase a good quality lens which blocks both UV-A and UV-B rays. It is also advisable to use large glasses which protect the eyes from the sides in order to ensure protection from reflected light entering eyes from the sides. Polarised glasses offer protection from excessive glare.
Use a hat /umbrella when venturing outdoors – Overhead protection not only reduces the amount of heat falling on our face but also dramatically reduces any harmful radiations from falling on our eyes.
Avoid peak summer hours- The outdoor heat and the harmful radiations are at their peak between 10 am and 4 pm. It is best to avoid going outdoors during this period.
Protect your eyes during swimming – Chlorine is used to keep the pools clean. Some people may develop an allergic reaction to this chemical. Hence it is advisable to sport protective goggles while swimming. Also, eyes must be washed with water immediately after swimming. People wearing contact lens must remove them before entering the pool.
Stay hydrated – Due to the heat and dryness, our body tends to get dehydrated and there is a possibility of dry eyes. It is advisable to stay hydrated by drinking fruit juices, coconut water, buttermilk or even plain simple water regularly. It is best to avoid carbonated beverages. Splashing your face with water at regular intervals also helps. In case of symptoms of excessive dryness (redness, foreign body sensation, itching), you must visit your ophthalmologist.
Keep cool but act wisely – While working or living in an air-conditioned room, ensure that the air doesn’t blow directly on the face. This could hasten the drying of tears resulting in dry eyes.
Use sunscreen lotions wisely- While applying sunscreen lotions ensure that they do not go inside the eyes as that may result in burning sensation in the eye. In case your eyes come in contact with the eyes, wash your eyes with water and contact your ophthalmologist if the symptoms persist.
Sleep well – Getting good sleep for about 6- 8 hours ensures rest to the eyes and a chance to get refreshed. It is best to avoid using gadgets like tabs or phones before sleep as they may result in eye strain and poor quality of sleep.
Natural rejuvenation – Applying freshly sliced cucumbers helps in soothing the eyes.