The rainy season is that desired cool season of the year. For most, it is the season to be pleased with mother-nature. However, the rainy season provides a very suitable environment and weather for the manifestation and increased activity of latent microorganisms that can contaminate the eyes (due to increased moisture in the air). These microorganisms can find their way to the eyes from dirty hands touching the eye, use of dirty materials on the eye etc., which can result in damaging infections; this therefore is a call to take precautionary measures and keep the eyes free from infection during these periods.
The most common eye diseases that occur during the rainy season is conjunctivitis (“pink eye” or “Apollo”).
The eye is overlaid by a thin transparent membrane called the conjunctiva. When this membrane gets inflamed/swollen and reddened it is termed “conjunctivitis”. People with conjunctivitis experience itching, redness and swelling of the eyes, with or without mucus discharges from the eye. The most common causes of conjunctivitis are infections from bacteria or viruses; contact with allergens like pollens and dust. For this reason, all cases of conjunctivitis are not treated same way.
Under listed are different types of conjunctivitis.
This is the most common type of conjunctivitis and is known to be caused by various strains of bacteria and is characterized by excretion of sticky discharge from the eyes. This infectious disease is usually treated with the use of antibiotics as prescribed by your optometrist and may heal within a week or two.
This type is usually caused by allergens like pollens or dust mites or generally anything that could irritate the eye. Unlike the bacterial variant, allergic conjunctivitis presents with no sticky discharge from the eyes but is accompanied by itching in the eye. Treatment for this condition is aimed at relieving the discomfort from itching by use of anti-allergy eye drops.
This is another infectious type of conjunctivitis caused by viruses and spreads through coughing, sneezing. It usually starts in one eye then spread to the other in a few days. It is similar to allergic conjunctivitis in its presentation but can be distinguished by the presence of pre-auricular lymph nodes which the optometrist will discover during the examination. Viral conjunctivitis would resolve on its own through secretion of the eye’s antibodies; however, eye drops and antihistamines are given to relieve ocular discomfort and symptoms of itching.
Helpful tips to protect your eyes during the rainy season
- Proper body and hand hygiene
Daily bath and regular hand washing are very essential to staying clean and keeping infections far away; not forgetting to use only clean towels or handkerchiefs on your face or eyes as the needs demand. It is also safe to stay away from anyone who has conjunctivitis, as it communicable.
- Proper contact lenses wear hygiene
For contact lens wearers, the rainy season is an important time to be extra diligent with hygiene modalities for contact lens use to prevent any infections. Use the right solutions to clean the lenses, wash hands before inserting and before removing contact lenses too, clean your contact lens cases daily.
- Get professional care
Schedule an appointment with your eye doctor if you experience any change in your vision or experience discomfort. Do not use medications without consulting with your eye doctor.