Vacations are a time to regenerate our systems and broaden our horizons but we might also encounter unexpected situations carrying health risks. Our sight is very vulnerable to injury. When a child is exposed to sunlight they should wear a cap or hat and sunglasses with UV filters!
It is worth buying health insurance beforehand – often travel agencies offer a health insurance package together with the trip, or you can simply contact your insurer. Our plea to parents: keep an eye on your children, as in the hustle and bustle of tourist resorts it’s easy to get into an incident. Preventative action is also advised as young organisms are still developing and thus even more vulnerable to injuries. Take care especially if within the hotel area there is a swimming pool or any other attractions designed for children (water slides etc.). Sometimes the atmosphere of light-heartedness is so contagious we forget about basic safety rules and health protection. Of course – it is always worth playing safe to minimise the dangers lurking for our child.
This also applies to adults! We give ourselves over to entertainment with pleasure, take part in events we have not known about earlier; we cross the boundaries of our minds using any “adventure” (survival park, parachuting, scooter driving, climbing, kite-surfing, windsurfing, diving, snorkelling, horse riding, camel riding, quads riding, skating, canoeing, motocross etc.). This is also a period rich in experiences for children. They may play pranks, strike up some interesting acquaintances or try and taste something new! It is also a time favorable for first crushes on the opposite sex.
Prior to leaving on a family vacation it is worth giving your children a quick eye inspection. At that time you can also ask questions regarding sight damage prevention. Peace of mind is a guarantee of fine recreation. We encourage you to make appointments with our pediatric ophthalmologists and certified orthoptist for an orthoptic diagnosis. Getting to us is very simple:
Of course, we realize that some of you will not find time to visit us, so, to maintain your child’s eyes in a healthy condition, below we present a small vacation guide in which we answer questions often raised by the parents.
More and more people are complaining about discomfort with their eyes: a feeling of dryness, tiredness, and burning. Below are some factors which are responsible for these annoying symptoms:
What does it mean when my child’s eyes are red?
It is likely your child is suffering from conjunctivitis! Typical symptoms are redness and blood-shot eyes. Mucous membranes are thin and delicate. It is easy to irritate them. They cover the eyelids and eyeball areas.
Why is my child suffering from conjunctivitis?
There are many reasons. Conjunctivitis is mainly caused by bacteria or viruses (with the latter, the disease is contagious). Allergens or fungus may also be a cause. Favourable factors are also dry eye syndrome and irritating factors like wind, sun, dust, chlorinated water). When there is an inflammatory condition the eyelids stop protecting the eyes and the eye is more exposed to harmful factors.
How can I help to reduce eye irritation before my child sees an ophthalmologist?
When you notice the first symptoms of conjunctivitis you can apply eye drops – you can buy them without a prescription (i.e. made of eyebright, or artificial tears). Dowsing the eyes with special eye-soothing liquids should also help. If after two to three days the problems don’t disappear, an ophthalmologist’s appointment is a must. The ophthalmologist, with the help of a slit lamp, can determine what kind of inflammatory condition your child is suffering from and will recommend appropriate treatment. Sometimes a secretion is taken to make a so-called sowing and a test is performed on the tear secretion. If there is a suspicion that conjunctivitis is caused by an allergy – intradermal tests are advised.
What is the composition of salt water? Is it harmful to eyesight?
Salt water is present in the seas and oceans. However, close to estuaries, its components change under the influence of the freshwater coming from rivers. If you have a child, on certain occasions it is worth determining the content of fresh and salt water. It is a solution of a salt of approximately 3.5% concentration. Natural water contains magnesium salt, calcium salt, potassium as potassium chloride, sulfates (VI) and bicarbonate. Salt water is also composed of dissolved oxygen and carbon dioxide. The PH of such water is slightly alkaline; it contains a lot of chlorides (e.g. sodium chloride). Other compounds exist in trace amounts. This mixture may be a source of eye irritation and redness. After bathing in a natural reservoir, it is recommended to rinse the eyes with water – preferably bottled mineral water – non-carbonated!
Is fresh water safer for the eyes?
As the name indicates such water contains fewer mineral salts. Even 100 times less than salt water! It is composed of bicarbonates, sulfates (VI), calcium and magnesium chlorides. The chemical compounds in inland waters (lakes, rivers, streams, creeks, waterfalls) are definitely more diversified than sea and ocean waters. This results from the fact that they are surrounded by different soils and plant communities and are more often affected by acid rain.
Our eyes definitely prefer fresh water over salt water – after a dip in a lake or river the eyes are not red. Nevertheless, some bacteria also wait for us there, so we advise wearing protective swimming or diving goggles.
LOOK-OUT! Bathing is safe only in reservoirs which are regularly inspected by the National Sanitary Inspection (Państwowa Inspekcja Sanitarna). It is a quite risky bathing in “wild” water reservoirs outdoors as you don’t realise what invisible threats may be present in the water.
Jump into the water and get amoebic conjunctivitis!?
Amoebas can cause one of the most dangerous types of conjunctivitis: amoebic conjunctivitis. Swimming in both salt and in fresh water comes with the danger of contracting a bacterial infection.
An amoeba is a small, monocellular organism (protoctist) which is present in every water reservoir. We find amoebas in salt water, fresh water, saline reservoirs as well as in recreational swimming pools. Unfortunately, it has significant resistance to the majority of accessible disinfectants. It causes keratitis, which is characterized by heavy eye pain, photophobia, and visual disorders. Treatment for this complaint can take a long time. One of the symptoms is purulent drainage from the conjunctival sac. If your child suffers from this kind of disease it means that they need to say goodbye to playing in water until the treatment is completed.
Sunglasses – superb eye protection against external factors
Don’t forget to wear sunglasses – they protect the eyes from, among other things, UV radiation! They are also an excellent barrier shielding the eyes from heavy wind, pollen or dust, all of which are common in the summer. There are four UV filter categories for sunglasses:
– 1st and 2nd category – designed for cloudy days, for places with low lighting or for places with steady, moderate lighting,
– 3rd category – usually appear in e.g. glasses for drivers (car drivers),
– 4th category – the strongest filter – designed for summer holidays, hiking, skiing, walking on a beach.
My child has squint eye, vision disorder, impaired vision or some other undiagnosed sight problem. Can they wear sunglasses?
Dark glasses (i.e. sunglasses, equipped with lenses with protective glass against UV radiation) slightly weaken eye accommodation. This doesn’t mean though that a child shouldn’t wear them. If they don’t wear corrective glasses there are no counter-indications for wearing sunglasses – especially on days when sunlight is exceptionally strong (!), e.g. on cloudless days. Before you choose sunglasses an appointment with a pediatric ophthalmologist is a must. If there are any counter-indications, a doctor will advise you. Also, you can find sunglasses (only certified!) appropriate for your child at an optician in a certified showroom.
If you have any doubts regarding the condition of your child’s vision – pay us a visit! Our orthoptic and ophthalmology office is the friendliest in Warsaw for all children! Contact our reception desk at tel. 22 266 0995 or send us an e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
See our series of videos concerning orthoptic issues. It was made in cooperation with our certified orthoptist Ewa Młodawska and content editor Joanna Derehajło:
—> WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO MAKE AN APPOINTMENT WITH AN ORTHOPTIST?
—> WHAT IS AN ORTHOPTIC DIAGNOSIS?
ON YOUTUBE: WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO MAKE AN APPOINTMENT WITH AN ORTHOPTIST?
Our other series called ORTHOPTIC EXERCISES show you example orthoptic exercises carried out during orthoptic therapy:
—> ON YOUTUBE: FUSION EXERCISES