Summer brings about many things, one of them being eye problems, which are, fortunately, mostly preventable.
Common Summer Eye Problems
Conjunctivitis — Conjunctivitis is also known as pink eye and is one of the most common eye problems during the summer season. It is characterized by red, itchy and watery eyes. While it is contagious, conjunctivitis is not transmitted through eye contact. Rather, it can be contracted through direct contact or sharing objects with an infected person. While it is caused by a viral or bacterial infection, conjunctivitis can spread via outdoor activities, such as backyard parties. Temperatures in the summer also favor its spread.
Stye — A stye, also called hordeolum or sty, is another eye problem characterized by a red bump on one or both eyelids. Styes are caused by bacteria and are contagious; however, it will heal on its own after a few days. It is painful, similar to a large pimple, and would typically rupture, drain and heal without help. Never try to lance, puncture or pinch a stye. Fortunately, it does not cause vision problems.
Dry Eyes — Exposure to dry heat as well as prolonged exposure to the sun, can evaporate moisture from the eyes too fast for the tear glands to produce tears. Dry eyes are characterized by irritation and a burning sensation, which is more felt when exposed to dry outdoor conditions.
Precautions Against Summer Eye Problems
Wearing sunglasses that provide ultraviolet (UV) protection is a good way to minimize the risks of eye problems. Make sure you’re buying your eyewear from an optical specialist or a reputable vendor as not all sunglasses provide UV protection. Avoid sharing eyewear with anyone to avoid transmitting or contracting conjunctivitis or stye. The same goes for handkerchiefs, towels, pillows, sheets, cosmetics and personal hygiene products. Most importantly, if you feel any of the aforementioned symptoms, avoid self-treatment. Instead, consult an eye specialist.
Northern Virginia Doctors of Optometry is your leading provider of eye care services. Give us a call at (703) 660-9494, or fill out our contact form.