As the mercury soars and we spend more time indoors and on our smartphones, the prevalence of allergies increases correspondingly, says Dr Iyad Armoush, Specialist Ophthalmologist at the Canadian Specialist Hospital in Dubai.
This summer’s potent climatic mix of warm temperatures, high humidity levels, greater airborne dust and pollen as well as freak sandstorms could adversely affect the health of UAE residents, with the eyes in particular being singled out for closer attention.
In the summer we are continuously exposed to high dose of UV rays, hot air, humidity, dust as well as pollen in the air, which all contribute to eye disease. Even people with healthy eyes could face issues.
“Summer is the season of allergies and dryness due to exposure to more sunlight and ultraviolet rays, sandstorms and excessive heat,” he says. “Another reason for allergies during summer is high exposure to air conditioners indoors and exposure to chlorine in swimming pools.”
Allergic conjunctivitis typically occurs when the conjunctiva, a thin layer covering the whites of the eyes, is inflamed. Symptoms include redness and itchy or watery eyes, swollen eyelids, a burning sensation and sensitivity to light, while the potential allergens are pollen, dust, chlorine, animal dander, make-up and eye creams.
Prophylaxis, or preventive treatment, is the best remedy for eye allergies, Dr Armoush says.
“We recommend patients who are prone to allergies to avoid eye irritants, long hours on gadgets, direct exposure to air conditioners and rubbing their eyes. Sunglasses are highly recommended to protect your eyes from sun exposure.”