Monsoon brings great joy to us as it gives relief from the heat, but with it comes an army of infections that cause eye pain and discomfort.
So don’t ignore your eye this monsoon.
The common eye problems my patients report during rainy season are conjunctivitis, stye, dry eye and corneal ulcer. I also get cases of viral infections during the rains, mainly due to increased moisture in the air. The moisture content in the air creates an extremely favourable condition for viruses to grow and multiply.
“The moisture content in the air creates an extremely favourable condition for viruses to grow and multiply.”
It is also known as ‘the pink eye’ condition, The conjunctiva is a thin clear tissue that lies over the white part of the eye and lines the inside of the eyelid. It’s inflammation causes redness, discharge, irritation and photophobia (distress when facing light).
It can spread easily from person to person, but is not a serious health risk if diagnosed promptly.
Dust, pollen, medicine or cosmetics too can cause red and itchy eyes. Monsoon is the season when the problem gets aggravated.
I say that the treatment of this condition depends on the underlying causes. In most viral cases, there is no specific treatment. I would say that the condition caused by bacterial infection can also be taken care of without treatment. However, antibiotics can give quick relief. Use of frequent cold compress and dark googles soothe the eye.
A stye is an infection of the sebaceous glands at the base of the eyelashes, or an infection of the sweat glands.
External styes form on the outside of the lids and can be seen as small red bumps.
Internal styes are infections of the meibomian sebaceous glands lining the inside of the eyelids.
Styes are similar to chalazia, but they tend to be smaller and more painful, and they usually don’t cause any lasting damage. They contain water and pus, and the bacteria spreads if the stye is forcefully ruptured. Styes are characterised by an acute onset and requires hot compress and ointment massage. In severe cases, it requires oral as well as topical antibiotics.
Dry eyes cause irritation and loss of lubrication in the eye. This is an irritating condition and in extreme cases the patient may even get blurred vision. Blinking the eye regularly helps formation of mucous in the eye. Though this problem is common throughout the year, I get more patients during the monsoon.
In addition to rubbing, wind, pollen and even dust particles can add to the irritation A soothing eye drop usually helps, and blinking the every few minutes and looking away from the book/computer/TV screen every few minutes is necessary.
It is a severe form of eye infection. It results from bacterial or fungal infection. Contact lens users are most susceptible to it. Consulting an ophthalmologist is necessary as it affects the vision as well. In fact, this might even result in total loss of vision and may require a corneal transplant.
Here are some of the precautions you can take during monsoons to maintain good eye health.
* First and foremost, keep your eyes clean. Wash them with cold water at least 2-3 times during the day. Wash your hands regularly and ensure those around you do the same.
* Maintain hygiene. Avoid touching your eyes with dirty hands.
* Avoid sharing your towel, eyeliner and similar personal items with others, because infections mostly spread through hands, clothes and other commonly touched items.
* Redness, irritation and itching are common monsoon-related problems, especially after too much reading, long hours at the computer or watching too much television, and most people treat such problems with lubricating eye drops. However, if you have such a problem, don’t self-medicate, ask a doctor.
* Avoid over-the-counter eye drops as they may contain steroids which can be harmful.
* Wash your hands thoroughly after administering drops to a patient suffering from conjunctivitis.
* Do not use contact lenses if you have irritation, red eye or any form of abnormal discharge.
* Avoid eye makeup.
* Skip swimming sessions.
Always wash your hands after coming from outside. Try to keep children away from puddles and waterlogged areas. Children often like to have fun in or around such places but it also comes with some health risks.
The monsoon can cause eye infections and not preventing or treating such infections could have serious implications.