This summer, protect your eyes from heat & dust with these tips

Heat can also cause allergic reactions in the eyes, ranging from mild itching and redness to severe watering and swelling of the eyelids

By Anoushka Caroline Williams  Published on  28 April 2023 3:30 AM GMT
Representational Image

Hyderabad: Due to increased sun exposure, dust, and screen time owing to digital gadgets, it’s critical to prioritise your eye health during the hot months ahead. However, with a few basic measures and frequent eye exams, you can protect your eyes throughout the summer months. Retinal illnesses, particularly Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) and Diabetic Retinopathy might endanger our vision.

AMD is a disorder that causes vision loss in older individuals by affecting the macula, the core region of the retina responsible for vision. Diabetic Retinopathy is a diabetic condition that destroys blood vessels in the retina and can result in visual loss.

Dr. Raja Narayanan, director of Anant Bajaj Retina Institute and president of the Hyderabad Retina Society, stresses the need for early identification and treatment of retinal illnesses to maintain eye health.

“Regular eye exams can help detect potential problems and prevent vision loss. Every month, we see roughly 20% of patients with retinal illnesses such as AMD and Diabetic Retinopathy, as well as a large number of patients with cataracts and glaucoma. Screening at the right time can help with early detection and diagnosis, which is critical for rapid treatment and preventing vision loss. As a result, if you notice any changes in your eyesight or have risk factors, get expert medical counsel right once,” he added.

Some factors that can affect eye health are:

1. Heat

We frequently overlook one of the most crucial sections of the body impacted by summer heat—our eyes. In the summer, our eyes, like our skin and health, are subjected to extreme stress.

“Heat can also cause allergic reactions in the eyes, ranging from mild itching and redness to severe watering and swelling of the eyelids, sties, and bacterial and viral conjunctivitis. Excessive heat exposure can cause eye burns, cataracts, macular degeneration (the primary cause of blindness), and cancer,” according to a specialist.

Tips to protect your eyes during summers:

· Avoid extended sun exposure: The sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays can damage our eyes, particularly between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Wear wide-brimmed hats and sunglasses that completely filter UVA and UVB radiation when spending time outside. This can lower your chances of developing eye disorders like cataracts and protect your eyes from the harmful effects of UV light.

· When using digital devices, take rest: Because of the rising usage of these gadgets when on vacation or participating in outdoor activities, it’s important to regularly rest your eyes. The “20-20-20” rule states that you should glance at anything 20 feet away for 20 seconds every 20 minutes. By doing this, you may lessen the discomfort and eye fatigue brought on by too much screen time and avoid digital eye strain.

· Wear UV-protective sunglasses: Sunglasses are not just a fashion statement, but they are also a crucial piece of equipment for eye safety. If you want to protect your eyes from damaging UV rays, look for sunglasses that provide 100% UV protection. Additionally, particularly near water or in bright outdoor circumstances, polarised glasses help lessen glare and improve clarity.

· Regular eye examinations, especially for diabetics: It’s important to get regular eye exams, especially if you have diabetes. Diabetes can raise the chance of developing retinal conditions such as diabetic retinopathy, which, if undiagnosed and untreated, can result in irreversible visual loss. To keep an eye on your eye health and spot any possible problems early, be sure to schedule routine eye exams with an ophthalmologist or other eye care specialist.

2. Dust

A dust allergy is an allergy to dust mites, which are tiny insects that reside in household dust.

“Take action to reduce the amount of dust and dust mites in your house to diminish allergies. Maintain a low level of humidity in your home, use allergen-proof bed and pillow coverings, wash bedding and stuffed animals frequently, vacuum frequently, and use a moist or oiled mop or cloth to remove dust, clear out the clutter, think about getting rid of the carpet, and install a high-efficiency HVAC filter,” an optometrist advised.

Speak with your ophthalmologist; they could advise you to take antihistamines or corticosteroids.

Tips for dealing with dust in your eyes:

· Check your eye after washing your hands. Avoid rubbing it to prevent scratching your cornea, and keep cotton swabs and tweezers out of your eye at all times. Look around your eyelids and inside your upper and lower eyelids to try to locate the item.

· Try to flush it out. After flushing your eye many times with clean water from your hands and wiping it dry with a fresh cloth, see whether the feeling of having something in your eye persists. Often, simply flushing your eyes will take care of your issue.

· If it’s still there, move your eyelids around. Roll your eye upward, and gently move your upper eyelid over the lower one. Check to determine if the object has moved after release.

· Consult a physician if you are unable to clear the dust from your eyes. You should seek immediate medical assistance, either in the emergency department or with your eye doctor, if the item that is in your eye is sharp or big. Your eye doctor can assist in removing whatever is in your eye, even if it is simply dust.

3. Screens

Due to the fact that almost everyone uses a screen on a daily basis, digital eye strain (DES) is more frequent than before.

While most individuals use cell phones, not everyone spends their whole day staring at a computer screen. According to experts, DES is present in about 50% of computer users.

Even while eye strain is rarely a chronic issue, it may be quite painful and make it difficult to get through a workday.

“We unconsciously blink less when viewing a high-resolution screen, and other discomfort responses may also lessen, preventing the body from alerting us to a problem. The condition is known as ‘computer vision syndrome’ and is particularly prevalent with computer use. Your overall eye health may suffer if you do this over an extended period of time. These symptoms may appear after using a screen for an extended amount of time when using a computer all day,” according to an optometrist.

Tips to protect eyes from too much screen time:

· The lighting of the room is important. Even though it can seem paradoxical, less light in your workspace is healthier for your eyes when using a computer. Close your drapes and use less fluorescent lighting in the office so that it isn’t overly bright. Make sure your ambient lighting is roughly half as bright as the average office and use lower-wattage bulbs.

· Frequently check your eyes. Regular eye check-ups guarantee that any issues you may be experiencing are just regular eye strain and assist to maintain the health of your eyes.

· Decrease glare. Because it prevents your eyes from responding as quickly as they should to the information you’re attempting to focus on, glare on your computer screen might strain your eyes. If at all feasible, switch to anti-glare matte screens from LCDs with glass covers. Make sure your glasses lenses have an anti-reflective coating if you wear them.

· Use screens with high resolution. Most individuals no longer need to utilise CRT screens. Those were the old computer monitors with slow refresh rates that produced a glaring flicker and hurt your eyes. Refresh rates on displays today are normally 75Hz or higher. The better, the higher. Additionally, displays with greater pixels seem more realistic. Your eyes don’t have to work as hard to interpret the visuals in front of you when you can’t see the pixels.

· Dim the blue lighting. Short-wavelength blue light is well-recognised for harming the eyes. Use special eyewear to cut back on blue light, or lower the screen’s colour temperature. It’s perfect for ongoing usage.

Next Story