Eye Problems In Summer

The most common eye injuries are:

1) Actinic keratitis

Is it an injury to the cornea caused by sunlight? It usually appears after having been sunbathing without eye protection. Sometimes these lesions have a toxic origin, due to eye contact with sunscreen creams, which dissolve with sweat entering our eyes. Its characteristic symptoms are pain, tearing, red eye, swelling of the eyelids and photophobia (pain to light). 

summer eye problems

This lesion is diagnosed by observing a puncture in the corneal epithelium (the outermost layer of the cornea), which actually translates into the presence of small corneal ulcers and heals in a few days with the application of artificial tears and ocular antibiotics. 

To avoid it, we must use sunglasses or special opaque glasses for sunbathing (commonly used in solariums) and, if the patient suffers from dry eye, it is important to increase the frequency of the use of artificial tears during the summer.

2 ) Conjunctivitis 

We must differentiate between allergic and infectious conjunctivitis.

Allergic conjunctivitis 

Patients with spring allergic conjunctivitis (usually children) worsen during the summer when exposed to the sun and heat. It is recommended that parents of allergic children try to change their summer habits and change the beach to the mountains, where the temperatures are milder and more suitable for these patients. 

If the patient worsens, it is advisable to put cold compresses on the eyelids and avoid scratching the eyes.

Infectious conjunctivitis 

The most frequent infectious conjunctivitis in summer is viral and especially that caused by adenovirus. This virus is highly contagious and usually infects us in swimming pools and beaches. 

The patient feels burning and has intense tearing, very red eyes and great swelling of the eyelids, especially in the morning. Viral conjunctivitis produces a transparent discharge that the patient mistakes for tearing, but these tears are loaded with viruses and can infect several members of the same family. 

To avoid family contagion, the patient must take strict hygienic measures such as having their own towel, washing their hands a lot, and using gauze pads or tissues to clean their eyes. 

It is important to go to the ophthalmologist to establish the most appropriate treatment and follow-up since sometimes the virulence of the virus can complicate conjunctivitis with keratitis, which can last for months and even cause a decrease in visual acuity by leaving scars on the cornea.

Summer is especially difficult for contact lens wearers 

Summer is an added problem for users of glasses, due to the difficulty in bathing on the beach or in the pool with them and the problem of finding their towel once the bath is finished. 

For this reason, many patients use contact lenses on the beach and in the pool, something totally discouraged due to the risks involved. Contact lenses dry out with heat and the sun, frequently causing keratitis, which if not attended to and treated urgently by the ophthalmologist, can be complicated by corneal infections, which can rapidly progress into the eye. 

Contact lens wearers are the population most affected by infections and should know that if the eye turns red or hurts, the first thing to do is remove the lenses.

Sometimes we find ourselves enjoying our vacations in places where it is difficult for us to maintain good contact lens hygiene, such as when we are camping. In these cases, daily disposable lenses may be more advisable. 

We should never be tempted to use running water to clean contact lenses or products that have not been designed for this purpose, as they may be contaminated by germs such as acanthamoeba, which can cause a devastating corneal infection that is difficult to treat.

Contact lens cleaning and maintenance solutions should not be exposed to temperatures above 30º C, so it is not advisable to leave the bottles of solution or the cases with the contact lenses in the beach bag or in the trunk of the car, since they could be damaged.

Contact lenses need a wet eye, with tears and this suffers natural evaporation as a result of heat or air conditioning, so in summer, it is advisable that these patients use special tears for contact lenses, to prevent the eye from drying out and complications appearing. 

With artificial tears, we must take the same care as contact lens maintenance solutions and always keep them in cool places. If we are going to take a long plane trip, it is advisable to remove the contact lenses during the flight, to prevent them from drying out or from falling asleep with them on.

It is also not appropriate to sunbathe with contact lenses, since due to the lack of blinking and the heat, the eyes dry out and the lenses can lose moisture, which can cause corneal ulcers or even stick to the cornea. 

If this happens, the eye should be lubricated with artificial tears until the lens recovers its hydration and movement. At this time the contact lens can be removed and urgently go to the specialist to assess the possible injuries caused.

Another segment of the population that deserves a separate mention on this topic is children:

Your eyes are much more sensitive to sunlight as the lens does not fully regulate the penetration of radiation. In addition, young people and children spend more time outdoors during the summer without any type of eye protection, which in the long run translates into cataracts appearing at an earlier age. 

The use of sunglasses is recommended from the age of 5 or 6, as well as the use of caps or hats and avoiding exposure in the hours of maximum intensity.

So, and as a final note:

We must not forget this summer the protection of our eyes with sunglasses that isolate us from solar radiation with approved lenses and good sunscreen, not bought in places that do not guarantee their quality.

In addition, as per JL Rohatgi Hospital , it is advisable to eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables to take care of our eyesight, as well as foods rich in antioxidants that act as light protectors and fight against the most harmful radicals for sight.