Monsoon is equivalent to romantic weather, hot pakodas, long drives and enchanting greenery and waterfalls! However, monsoon is also equivalent to infectious diseases including flu, diarrhea and jaundice, contaminated water and food, flies and mosquitoes, and eye infections!
Now talking about eye infections, it can range from viral, bacterial, protozoal, fungal and related to worms!The most common is conjunctivitis.. it is an eye infection that is associated with red eyes, discharge, and spreads from a person in the community through contact and finite. Also, we see infections of the cornea (the black part of the eye) called keratitis caused by microsporidia parasites, bacteria and fungi. It is a devastating infection caused by washing eyes with contaminated water, unhygienic contact lens routine and injuries by vegetative matter and thorns especially while trekking in forests. It can lead to blindness and there are infections like trachoma, spread by flies which lead to scars on the cornea and eyelid deformities. Then there are worms like filaria spread by mosquitoes which can cause retinal inflammation leading to swelling and low vision.
Also there are infections like toxoplasma and Toxocara spread through contaminated pets and their litter which contaminates vegetables and spreads to the eye causing blindness. Finally, contaminated swimming pools and puddles of water contain Protozoa like acanthamoeba leading to corneal infections again causing blinding complications.
All these are preventable diseases and need basic care and precautions to avoid long term eye problems.
1) The first basic precaution is to wash our hands with soap and water frequently to avoid the spread of viral and bacterial conjunctivitis to family members.
2) Do not touch your eyes if infected and cover it with a shield or glasses
3) Do not wash your eyes with tap water as it is usually contaminated especially in the rainy season, use boiled or filtered water or better still lubricating eyedrops.
4) Do not allow flies to hover around your eyes and if present get rid of with flytraps or sprays.
5) Get rid of mosquitoes with the help of repellants or mosquito nets.
6) Do not wear contact lenses while swimming in pools and if used throw them after use and start a new pair-
7) Maintain good hygiene of contact lenses with advice from your doctor
8) Wear protective eye gear while trekking or cycling through forests
9) Keep your pets clean, especially kitten and avoid them going into puddles and ingesting contaminated food
10) Finally avoid rubbing of eyes when there is a foreign body or irritation in the eyes, instead rush to an eye doctor to seek advice. Avoid self-medication. Let’s take these basic precautions and have an enjoyable monsoon full of fun, food, and travel!