Rishi Raj Borah
As India grapples with heat waves and soaring temperatures, showing no sign of relief, the scorching heat in summer can hinder your vision if left unprotected. During the peak hours of the day, particularly, when your eyes are exposed to direct sunlight, this can cause several eye problems. The existing burden of eye diseases globally is enormous with approximately 2.2 billion individuals having a near or distance vision impairment, out of which, almost half of the cases could have been prevented if minimal preventive measures like adhering to protective gear, while stepping out in the sun among others were taken timely.
During summers, not only does your skin need to be safeguarded from UV rays, but it’s also equally important to take precautions to protect your eyes and keep them healthy. From using eye drops to covering your eyes with UV-protected sunglasses, these simple yet effective tips will help you keep your eyes healthy and happy all summer long. Here are some best practices that may help save your sight during summers:
Ensure that eyes remain hydrated: Yes, hydration is the key. During the summer season, dry eyes is a common phenomenon. Even strong winds wrapped with increasing heat during summers can cause serious dehydration and irritation in the eyes, often resulting in dry eyes condition. Hence, an adequate amount of fluid that can assist your body in producing protective tears is essential. Drinking alcohol and caffeine can have an adverse effect on the body, so the less the better.
Choose the right pair of shades to avoid conditions like photokeratitis: The harmful Ultraviolet radiation (UVR) can cause photokeratitis or photo conjunctivitis, a condition also known as snow blindness. Continuous exposure to UVR, especially to UVB rays that has a shorter wavelength can lead to cataract development, pterygium, etc. Therefore, choosing the right shades is imperative for the protection of eyes.
Protect your eyes during swimming: Chlorine that is mostly found in swimming pools can have an adverse effect on your eyes. This is why it is advisable for you to wear swimming goggles to protect your eyes from the swelling, burning, and itching owing to chlorine exposure.
Keep eyes hydrated with eye drops: Not only your skin, but your eyes also need a generous amount of moisturisation through artificial tear drops. With long exposure to blue rays generated from electronic devices, artificial tear drops have become imperative to modern eye care. With the rising pollution levels and soaring degree, it is obvious to feel dehydrated during summers. This serious dehydration makes it harder for the body to produce tears, leading to dry eye symptoms and other vision problems. Along with prescribed artificial tears, it is imperative to drink plenty of water, which reverses negative effects of dehydration.
Do not rub your eyes: Maintaining hand hygiene is imperative for eye health. It is a common practice to rub our eyes with our hands, which can cause eye infection. By washing your hands thoroughly, you can protect your eyes from most communicable diseases, including conjunctivitis. Especially, in cases like eye surgery such as LASIK, cataract surgery, or glaucoma shunt surgery, the eyes are more susceptible to infection. It's best to wash your hands before treating your eyes. Avoid rubbing them altogether.
Sleep well and refresh your eyes: Last but not the least, it is imperative to get a good night’s sleep. This will provide your eyes with adequate rest. Your eyes perform a wide range of tasks throughout the day and need rest. It is highly recommended to keep the eyes replenished with a proper sleep schedule.
By following these simple yet effective tips, you can keep your eyes healthy all summer long and protect the eyes from prolonged effects of sun rays. With these expert-recommended eye care tips, you can enjoy your summer activities, while keeping your eyes protected. And yes, don’t forget to go for eye check-ups at regular intervals.
(Dr Rishi Raj Borah, Country Director - India, Orbis)