Reema contacted me over a teleconsult. Her eyes were swollen, and the pain was excruciating. She started experiencing these symptoms over the last one day. She had not even stepped out of the house due to the lockdown and was working from home. Over the video consult, I realized that she had developed a stye, which is a kind of infection in the glands of the lids. Due to this infection, lids become painful and swollen. On further probing she did mention her recent tendency to rub her eyes to relax the tired eyes after hours of working on her laptop. Monsoon season along with her newly acquired habit of eye rubbing probably predisposed to it.
Obviously, monsoons are the most wonderful time of the year. For all age groups it has something magical to offer. This season is all about thundering clouds, falling rain drops, freshness and greenery all around, and of course croaking frogs. This year the magic of monsoon is even more, as due to lock-down, we are working from home and we don’t have to brace ourselves for the raincoats, traffic jams, water puddles, and whole host of inconveniences that come along with it.
Monsoons are also associated with its host of health issues for a lot of people. Our eyes are also vulnerable to a host of eye infections and conditions during monsoons:
- Pink Eye
Seasonal changes predispose people to certain viral infections of the eyes. Pink eye or conjunctivitis is one of them. Watering of eyes, redness, discharge, foreign body sensation, swelling of the eyelids, sensitivity to light are all signs and symptoms of conjunctivitis or pink eye. It is important to not self-medicate. We have had patients who unknowingly bought steroid eye drops from the pharmacy and ended up worsening their conjunctivitis to a dangerous complication called corneal ulcer.
You can develop an infection of the glands of your eye lids which is called a Stye. It is a red lump on your eyelid that looks like a boil. It can lead to watering, pain, and often diffuse swelling of your eyelid. You can apply a warm napkin on your closed eyelid for 10 minutes a day and repeat it 3-4 times a day. If it does not improve after 2-3 days, visit your eye doctor.
- Dry Eyes
Though it seems like a paradox, exposure to drafts of cold wind and opening your eyes directly onto raindrops can wash out the natural tear film that protects your eyes. Use protective glasses when you are exposed to strong winds to prevent drying out of the eyes. And do not allow raindrops to fall into your eyes directly. Using too much laptop or mobiles can add to this.
- Corneal Ulcers
Viruses, bacteria and fungus are active in this moist weather. They can cause a sore on the outermost transparent layer of the eye called the cornea. This can get extremely dangerous if not treated appropriately in time. Do not hesitate to consult your eye specialist if you suffer from eye pain, yellowish discharge and blurry vision.
Here are some more tips to help you take care of your eyes this monsoon.
- Wash your hands especially before you touch your eyes. Avoid rubbing your eyes or even touching your eyes.
- If a family member is suffering from an eye infection, do remember to keep his/her towels, napkins and pillow covers separate. Ask the family member to use disposable tissues instead of towels to wipe their eyes. Wash your hands after administering eye drops.
- Prevent kids from jumping in puddles and waterlogged areas.
- Do not share eye makeup. If you have an eye infection, replace the old makeup after you have been cured of it. Always use good brands for eye makeup.
- Avoid opening your eyes directly under rainwater. Though rainwater per se is clean, that which slides off buildings or has absorbed atmospheric pollutants can harm your eyes.
- Avoid the use of over-the-counter eye drops. They may contain steroids which may be harmful if used without the supervision of an eye specialist.
- Use sunglasses with UV protection whenever you are outdoors, even if it is a cloudy day.
- If you are a contact lens user, do not use your contact lenses when you have an eye infection. After you have recovered, do remember to clean your lens thoroughly before you put it back in your eyes. Do not share your contact lens case or solution with others.
Let us all enjoy the beautiful monsoon weather amidst lush greenery along with a hot cup of tea and pakoras! Enjoy getting wet as well but not at the cost of the health of your eyes! Simple precautions will ensure happy and healthy eyes!