Summer doesn’t save us – it’s sweltering, and various particles float in the air, which may fall into our eyes. Despite the fact that the holiday light-heartedness is favorable for any kind of physical activity, we should not forget about basic care of our child’s eyes. Other than a varied diet rich in antioxidant ingredients (more about beneficial ingredients below), preventative measures and common sense protect us against unusual weather conditions and other external factors which can have an impact on our eyes’ well being.
Sport is good for your health! If it’s ok with your ophthalmologist, encourage your children to take part in physical activity.
Practicing sport can be a way to lower the fragility of capillaries and improve the quality of vision. This is because of:
– increased blood circulation in the eye (within the retina, optic nerve and choroid)
– the stimulation of the production of rhodopsin, which is important for the vision process – a red photopigment in the retinal rods of vertebrates is responsible for better night vision.
Before any holiday it is worth checking your sunglasses because they can “wear out”, and for sure, new ones will be more efficient as far as UV protection is concerned – much better than those bought 5–10 years ago. Depending on the function sunglasses perform, there are four basic categories of UV filters:
– ** category 1 and 2 – designed for cloudy days, when daylight is weak or for places with fixed, moderate illumination
–*** category 3 – for driving glasses (the ones use when driving a car)
–**** category 4 – the strongest filters; designed for holiday purposes, hiking, skiing, walking on a #beach.
Dry air is merciless when it comes to eyes – it causes our natural tear film to evaporate significantly faster (in a process similar to that which occurs in winter in closed, air-conditioned rooms). Desiccation of the natural protective eye layer may be prevented by regular consumption of liquid. Children and adults should consume at least 1.5–3 litres of water daily. Such precautions should protect you against retina irritation, a feeling of dust in the eyes, etc.
The water in which your child bathes is also important – each water or swimming pool will contain a different composition of water and thus may have a different impact on the eyes’ mucous membrane. Public baths are usually organised in separate areas – either river/lake or sea water. Recreational swimming places, like outdoor or indoor swimming pools, have chlorine and/or ozonated water.
- SALT WATER (marine or oceanic)
In salt water the concentration of various salts can reach 3.5%. They are, among others: magnesium salt, potassium salt in the form of chlorides, sulphurous (VI) and hydrogen carbonates containing dissolved oxygen and carbon dioxide. Such water has a slightly alkaline pH, and chlorides (including sodium chloride) dominate as the main elements. Strontium, bromine, silicon and fluorine compounds occur in vestigial quantities.
What is our eyes’ reaction to salt water? The mixture of all these compounds may result in eye irritation and cause reddening. In such a case the light sensation of burning, itching or pinching does not last long, but if symptoms increase it may be conjunctivitis or keratitis.
- FRESH WATER
In fresh water there are 100 times fewer dissolved mineral salts than in salt water. It contains the following compounds: bicarbonates, sulphurous (VI), magnesium and calcium chlorides.
Due to the fact that inland waters (lakes, rivers, streams) are surrounded by many kinds of soil and plants, their chemical composition is more variable and definitely more diversified than in seas and oceans.
Eyes are usually less irritated after bathing in a lake or river, but this is where a lot of different bacteria lurk, so you should always wear protective glasses!
BE CAREFUL! Depending on the climate zone, distance from large cities, plant life, and the kind of substrate in the water’s composition, there may be many kinds of substances, foreign bodies and unsafe bacteria (for your overall health including your eyes). Safe bathing is possible only in places which are regularly inspected by the National Sanitary Inspection. Bathing in “wild” water holes is very risky, as upon first glance you cannot tell what kind of danger is hidden in the water.
If you get the sensation of itching, pinching, or a feeling that something is in your eye, you should rinse them with eye drops – fake tears – after bathing. Do not invest in eye drops with a far-off expiration date – they are more expensive and contain a lot of preservatives. The best ones are those with a short expiration date.
In order to avoid such symptoms, you should always wear swimming or diving glasses (the latter are a bit bigger).
How to select diving glasses for a child?
When bathing in an outdoor pool in the fresh air we can suffer eye irritation as a result of exposure to water and also due to bright sunlight. It is important for swimming glasses to be equipped with UV filters – the lenses in such glasses are “smoky”, made of darkened material. Those with clear lenses are useful only in indoor swimming pools.
When your child has a sight defect diagnosed, it is worth supplying them with corrective swimming glasses.
These may be swimming glasses with small lenses or simply water goggles designed mainly for diving purposes (up to 3–4 meters). If your child has a sight defect you should look for corrective swimming glasses with negative correction. The best ones are custom made, especially when clarity of vision is different in each eye – corrective lenses will be adjusted separately (e.g. left with -2.5 dioptre and right with -3.1 dioptre).
IMPORTANT!!Before you order swimming glasses make an appointment with an ophthalmologist and certified orthoptist (our ophthalmologist and certified orthoptist’s office: tel. 22 266 09 95). Only after gathering complete medical documentation on your child’s sight should you start looking for glasses or order an adjustment of corrective swimming glasses for each eye separately. Find an optician that specializes in these kinds of orders.
What should be taken into account when buying water glasses or goggles?
First of all PUT the glasses on the child’s HEAD – let them try the glasses before you decide to buy. Similarly to sunglasses, water protective glasses are equipped with lenses covered with a UV filter on the external side, which as time passes protects less and less against UV radiation; thus they need to be replaced every 2–4 summer seasons depending on the degree of usage. It is not worth overpaying, as cool, designer swimming glasses are always more expensive, but the design and/or designer are not as important as their usefulness – they must meet several crucial conditions:
– lens spacing must be adjusted to eye spacing, and lens size must be adjusted to the size of the child’s eye sockets! If asked, the vendor will for sure show you swimming glasses which have smaller lenses. There are also glasses with replaceable nose pads or some kind of regulator (the spacing can be adjusted), but they are usually more expensive;
– when you are planning a vacation in areas of strong sunlight, definitely BUY glasses with SMOKEY LENSES (A BIT DARKENED) equipped with a UV filter protecting against harmful radiation. Children, in particular, should wear glasses with a UV filter, as their sight is still developing and thus is very sensitive to strong sunlight!
– hydrodynamic (aerodynamic) shape, which ensures a wide angle of sight, can be useful, especially during swimming lessons. With this type, on the sides (on the external part of the lenses) there are no limiters – non-transparent elements (like horse blinkers). The wider the angle of vision the more confidence the child will have when swimming, and a better sense of security, etc.;
– good sealing; try on the glasses, check if they “suck- up” well; usually producers include information that they have passed the so-called suck test;
– for plopping in a swimming pool (such as a swimming pool with slides, paddling pool, mini aqua-park, etc.) glasses with the blue or colorless lens are sufficient; in such places we have to deal with artificial light, so darkened lenses are unnecessary (unless the child suffers from photophobia);
– it is important for the strap that keeps the glasses on the head to be doubled or wide (“thick”), as a narrow (“thin”) one may pinch the head (when stretched to make the glasses fit properly);
– the materials of which the glasses are made should be harmless to health, so it is recommended to buy them in a brick & mortar or internet sports shop ¬– not in a supermarket or internet auction initiated from a private account (people sometimes sell used glasses, but there is no guarantee of quality or any way to know for how many seasons they have been used).
The conjunctiva is a very thin, delicate mucosa which covers the eyeball (the internal area of both eyelids). It plays a very important role: it covers the eye, and lubricates and protects it. There are few veins in this area. You can tell whether your child suffers from iron deficiency by gently examining the lower eyelid – healthy conjunctiva should be light pink, not too pale.
When eyes are reddish and congested, it is a sign that maybe your child is suffering from conjunctivitis. There are lacrimal, muciferous and adipous glands which produce rheums, creating tears.
Maintain basic hygiene rules, and swim with protective glasses (i.e. swimming glasses); this can significantly lower the risk of eye infection.
What causes conjunctivitis?
There are two types of conjunctivitis: viral and bacterial. Bathing in salt water as well as freshwater menaces bacterial conjunctivitis.
- —> Viral infection / Viral conjunctivitis: in the first phase it appears only in one eye and then transfers to the other. To begin with, the conjunctiva is affected, and after a few days, the virus transfers to the gentle cornea.
Symptoms of viral conjunctivitis are: swollen and itchy conjunctivas and an irritating sensation of a foreign body in the affected eye, and runny mucus.
IMPORTANT! Single-cell body (protozoan) – amoeba may cause a more dangerous type of conjunctivitis: amebic keratitis. Amoebas exist in all swimming pools, also in brine waters and recreational pools. Unfortunately, they have high resilience to common disinfection measures.
- –> Bacterial conjuctivitis
This occurs very often and affects both eyes. Purulent secretion or purulent serous secretion manifests in the conjunctival sac and in the lacrimal sac. Sometimes the entire eye-lids are swollen. There may be bloody ecchymosis on conjunctivas or grey-yellow spots.
During treatment, sulphonamides or antibiotic dissolutions are administered in the form of drops or cream. Usually, the infection abates after a week. In the case that treatment is not effective, another ophthalmologist appointment is necessary. Usually medicines are laid off for a couple of days, and afterward, the ophthalmologist will order bacteria culture from the conjunctiva sacs with determining so-called antibiogram. When bacteria causing infection are found, a targeted therapy is applied.
What else can cause conjunctivitis?
- External factors: bright sunlight, strong wind
Eyes become reddish, prickly. A sensation of there being a foreign body under the eye-lid occurs. We react badly to light – photophobia.
What can help? Let your eyes rest: don’t expose them to external factors, don’t read, don’t do anything which may tire them. Chamomile or tea essence may bring some relief: cover your eyes with cotton pads soaked with chamomile or tea regularly (a few times a day).
It can be said that the eye is complicated and complex optic apparatus. The eyeball is covered with three tunics:
– external (of fibrotic character),
– middle (vascular tunic),
The external eye tunic is built with a non-transparent sclera and an entirely transparent cornea, which is very delicate (you should always be careful not to harm it – that is why rubbing your eyes is so dangerous!).
The eyeball muscle sinews which move the eyeball are attached to the cornea. Thanks to this our eye keeps its shape.
The cornea is positioned in the front part of the eye; it is lubricated by lacrimal liquid and performs, among others, a protective function. It is highly venous and extremely sensitive to foreign bodies, any kind of particulars, chemical substances and mechanical injuries. Such factors cause irritation and the sensation of pain.
– Vascular tunic (uvea)
It is called the uveal layer, as it is composed mainly of blood vessels. It performs an important function: it supplies the retina with oxygen and nourishes it.
The vascular tunic comprises:
– the iris (front part),
– ciliary processes,
– the ciliary body (middle part),
– the choroidea (back part);
– Internal Tunic: retina
The most important part of our eye is the thin retina (0.25–0.4 mm), as it enables us to see. It is the place where the picture is formed. It comprises 10 layers of the epithelium; one of them is pigmentary epithelium. Located at the rear of the retina are photoactive cells: cone cells and rod cells. In total there are over 125 million of them (including six million cone cells; the remaining ones are rod cells). In this area, a change of light energy to electric signal occurs, which is transported by nerves to the brain, where the picture is formed. Cone cells enable us to see colours and give us clear vision; rod cells enable us to see after dusk.