No matter how aware you are, someone or the other around you will go, pick up an infection and pass it on to you. Children in particular need to be taught proper hygiene, else they will spread the disease. If you wake up to itchy, puffy or red eyes, chances are you could be infected with conjunctivitis, eye stye, dry eyes or in extreme cases even a corneal ulcer!
Let’s have a look at them:
Conjunctivitis is one of the most common and treatable eye infections in children and adults. Often called pink eye, it is an inflammation of the conjunctiva – the tissue that lines the inside of the eyelids and the white of your eyeball. This tissue helps keep the eyelid and the eyeball moist.
Conjunctivitis can be caused by a virus, bacteria, irritating agents like shampoos, dirt, smoke, pool chlorine and allergens. Physically the signs are often difficult to distinguish. Allergic conjunctivitis would be bilateral, produce watery discharge and be accompanied by itching while the rest would probably start in one eye, the discharge would be thicker and more sticky and the pain would be more burning and stinging. Pink eye caused by bacteria and viruses can spread easily from person to person.
What should you do
- First and foremost, keep your eyes clean. Wash them with cold water at least 3-4 times during the day. Splashing cold water helps wash away the germs.
- Never share personal items like towels, handkerchiefs with anyone.
- Avoid wearing contact lenses if you have the infection.
- Skip swimming sessions as they aggravate the problem.
- Wash your hands regularly and ensure those around you do the same.
- Conjunctivitis can be due to viral or bacterial infection. You might need medicines prescribed by the doctor. It is a self-limiting disease and will go away if you take precaution.
- If you need to go out, wear dark glasses to help ease the pain from the sun’s glare, bright light or strong wind.
- Make sure you wipe the glasses with a clean cloth to clear it of any germs.
Dry eyes is another eye infection caused by exposure to dust and pollutants. It causes irritation, pain and loss of lubrication in the eye. There is a constant flow of water from eyes. In extreme cases the sufferer may even get blurred vision. Though this problem is common throughout the year, during monsoon it gets worse when we rub our eyes with dirty hands.
What should you do
- A soothing eye drop usually helps.
- Blinking the eyes every few minutes help the eye in mucous formation.
- Looking away from the book/computer/TV screen every few minutes is a must.
This infection of a gland in the eyelids due to a duct blockage can really cause you pain. Styes are rampant during monsoon and are usually caused by bacterial infections that give you a painful lump along the eyelid. They are usually caused by rubbing the eyes with dirty hands Or even by touching the eyes after having touched the nose because some of the bacteria found in the nose are known to cause a stye. The infection leads to pain, swelling and pus.
What should you do
- Hot compress will give you relief.
- keep the lids clear of cellular debris by gently scrubbing them with a soapy solution prepared by putting a few drops of mild baby shampoo into a cup of warm water. Don’t worry, baby shampoo being alkaline in nature does not irritate the eyes!
Dust, pollen, medicines or cosmetics too can cause red and itchy eyes if they trigger an allergy. Monsoon is the season when the problem gets aggravated. Your kohl stick could be the culprit or maybe the mascara.
What should you do
- The best thing to do is to avoid all eye makeup.
- Wash your eyes frequently with cold water.
- Put some soothing eye drops.
- Rest your eyes for a while.
Cornea is the thin clear structure over iris. Corneal ulcer is a severe form of eye infection. It results from bacterial or fungal infection. Contact lens users are most susceptible to it. Particles stuck under a lens rubbing the cornea can quickly lead to corneal ulcers. It’s a very serious infection as it causes severe pain, pus discharge and blurred vision too. In fact if neglected it might even result in total loss of vision and require a corneal transplant.
What should you do
- The affected person should immediately consult an ophthalmologist as it affects the vision as well.
- The lens should be taken out as soon as possible.
- Calendula can be used to soothe the minor irritations.
Prevention is better than cure:
A little care can go a long way in preventing infections and keep your eyes healthy so that you can enjoy the rains during monsoon. Here are a few valuable eye care tips that can keep infections at bay:
- Don’t touch/rub your eyes with dirty hands; this habit is esp common among children. Wash your hands frequently.
- Keep kids away from puddles and waterlogged areas. Children often like to have fun in or around such places but they are highly bacteria prone.
- If you get drenched in the rain, remember to wash your eyes with clean water and pat dry the sides of your eyes the moment you are back home.
- High humidity in the rainy season causes a lot of sweating. Don’t make a mistake of wiping your face especially the area around eyes with a handkerchief because it’s usually not that clean. Use a tissue instead.
- Do not share your eye medicines, contact lens solutions/containers, towels and handkerchiefs with others.
- If you wear contact lenses, clean them thoroughly and try not to use them when you have an infection.
- Usually infection spreads through sharing things with each other. Avoid sharing your cosmetics brushes. Avoid eye makeup when you have an infection.
- Wearing sunglasses when outdoor helps.
- When going for a swim, see that the pool and the area around the pool is absolutely clean as bacterial infections lurk around unhygienic pools multifold during rains.
In spite of all the possible measures if you still notice any symptom of an eye infection, please don’t self medicate by going to the nearest chemist and asking for eye drops. Go and see a doctor.
Eat it to beat it: Nutrition for the good health of eyes
Eating healthy food is vital to eye health. To boost your immunity levels, avoid eating outside food. Have home-cooked meals and fresh seasonal vegetables and fruits. They contain antioxidants beneficial for health. Nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids, lutein, zinc, and vitamins C and E present in them can help you to good eye health.
Homoeopathy in Eye care
While medicines like Apis mel, Arsenic, Argentum nit, Belladonna, Merc cor, Aconite, Allium cepa and Euphrasia take good care of conjunctivitis, other like graphites, sulphur or Staphisagria can help a stye vanish in a couple of days without leaving any nodosities behind. No other system of medicine can give a lasting cure for styes which are known to recur almost invariably. There are excellent remedies to combat the eye allergies which tend to trouble not just during monsoons but all the year round. I have come across many patients who stopped taking steroids after being on homoeopathic medicines for some time.
We are extra careful about serious diseases, but when it comes to the safety of our eyes we are not as careful! Eyes especially need extra care during monsoons as the moist and humid conditions make it the most favourable time for bacteria to breed. With a good diet, proper hygiene and a little bit of medication wherever required, you will be able to tide through the monsoon with no worries.
Note :: Homoeopathic medicines mentioned above should be taken under the guidance and directions of a homoeopathic doctor only.