The rainy season brings relief from the scorching heat but it can also increase the risk of infections as the moisture in the air and the waterlogging on roads create an environment that is conducive to the growth of bacteria and viruses. Many of us love the rainy season and want a break from the summer sweat however, monsoon rains bring many diseases including eye related infections therefore, it is very important to take proper care of your eyes.
Eye infections are one of the most common ailments during the monsoon season, with over 20 million cases reported annually in India alone, according to the Indian Journal of Ophthalmology. By taking necessary precautions and seeking medical attention when necessary, we can help protect our eyes and prevent potentially serious eye infections.
In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr Sandeep Buttan, Technical Lead at Eye Health and Health System Strengthening at Sightsavers India, said, “As an ophthalmologist, I cannot stress enough the importance of taking necessary precautions to prevent eye infections during the monsoon season. This time of year presents a number of challenges for maintaining good ocular hygiene, but with the right strategies, we can help protect our eyes and prevent potentially serious eye infections. One of the biggest challenges during the monsoon season is the high humidity, which encourages the growth of bacteria and viruses. Wet surfaces also retain agents of infections, and there is a potential for exposure to contaminated water. Frequent contact between hands and eyes can also increase the risk of eye infections, particularly for children.”
He added, “There are certain high-risk cases to consider, such as those with existing eye conditions like diabetes, allergies, or dry eyes, as well as contact lens wearers and those who have recently had eye surgery. In these cases, it is particularly important to take extra precautions to protect the eyes. The symptoms of eye infections during the monsoon season may include increased irritability, redness, and discomfort, as well as lid infections (stye – painful swelling over the lids) and conjunctivitis (red/ pink eyes) with sticky eyes. If you experience any of these symptoms, it is important to seek medical attention from an eye specialist.”
To prevent eye infections during the monsoon season, he suggested that it is important to improve the general level of cleanliness through regular hand washing and face washing. Dr Sandeep Buttan said, “It is also important to avoid rubbing the eyes, particularly for children. Contact lens users should avoid exposure to rainwater and follow proper lens care practices to reduce the risk of infection. Finally, use of antibiotic eye drops should only be done on the advice of a specialist. Statistics from reputable organizations help support the importance of these practices. For example, the American Academy of Ophthalmology reports that contact lens wearers are more likely to develop eye infections if they use tap water or do not properly clean their lenses. Additionally, a study published in the Journal of Hospital Infection found that hand hygiene interventions can reduce the incidence of eye infections by up to 50%.”
Dr Pankaj Chaudhary, Senior Consultant, Internal Medicine at Max Hospital in Vaishali, recommended five tips to avoid infection during the rainy season –
- Keep yourself clean and dry: One of the most effective ways to prevent infections is to keep yourself clean and dry. Make sure to take a bath daily and dry yourself thoroughly. Avoid wearing wet clothes or shoes for a long time as it can create a breeding ground for bacteria.
- Drink clean water: Waterborne diseases like cholera and typhoid are common during the rainy season. Make sure to drink only clean and filtered water. If you are not sure about the quality of water, boil it before drinking.
- Eat healthy and hygienic food: The rainy season is also a time when food contamination is high. Avoid street food and unhygienic eateries. Make sure to wash fruits and vegetables thoroughly before consuming them.
- Boost your immunity: A strong immune system can help you fight off infections. Eat a balanced diet, exercise regularly and get enough sleep to boost your immunity. You can also take supplements like vitamin C to strengthen your immune system.
- Avoid crowded places: Crowded places like markets, malls and public transport are breeding grounds for infections. If possible, avoid going to crowded places during the rainy season. If you must go, wear a mask and maintain social distancing.
Bringing his expertise to the same, Dr Shantanu Mukherjee, Senior Consultant at Sharp Sight Eye Hospitals, advised five eye care tips to keep your eyes healthy this summer –
1. Keep your eyes protected from rainwater: Even if you like to play, dance and bath in the rain, don’t let the rainwater get directly into your eyes. Don’t open your eyes and enjoy the rain hitting your face. Although the rain is clean, it collects tons of germs, microbes and atmospheric pollutants as it falls, which are harmful for the eyes. That’s why you need to protect your eyes from the rain to avoid any potential eye infections.
2. Never share your towels or napkins with anyone: Eye infections are contagious. Therefore, the transmission of germs and diseases from one person to another through personal hygiene items (such as hand towels, bath towels, and handkerchiefs) can cause the spread of this disease.
3. Eat healthy food: Rain and roadside chai-pakoda may seem like a match made in heaven to many but may also cause a magnified risk of contracting eye problems. Therefore, avoid the consumption of oily snacks, and aerated drinks. Instead, you should opt for healthy snacks, fruits, and salads. During the rainy season, include green leafy vegetables, corn, strawberries, yogurt and eggs in your diet.
4. Try to avoid wearing contact lenses: Try to avoid wearing contact lenses during rainy season as they can cause extreme dryness in the eyes which may result in redness and irritation. Sometimes, it may also lead to severe corneal infection and loss of vision. Always try to keep your glasses clean and dry.
5. Do not self medicate: We often think that our eye related infections are a trouble for only a few days and will pass away in a couple of days. During this time, most of the people visit a nearby chemist store and get some eye drops or medication not prescribed by a doctor to treat their eye problems, which is not a correct practice. In case you experience even the slightest symptoms of eye infections during monsoon season, you must seek an appointment with your eye doctor.
Dr Shantanu Mukherjee concluded, “If you wake up with red, swollen and itchy eyes, there is a strong possibility that your eyes are infected. A little eye care goes a long way in preventing infections and keeping your eyes healthy so you can enjoy the rainy season without any problems. However, if you still have symptoms of an eye infection despite taking all precautions, consult your ophthalmologist immediately.”
By following these simple tips, you can avoid infections during the rainy season. Remember to keep yourself clean and dry, drink clean water, eat healthy and hygienic food, boost your immunity and avoid crowded places.
Courtesy – www.hindustantimes.com