April is Women's Eye Health & Safety , Sjögren's Awareness, and Sports Eye Safety Month
Prevention is the key and sport-specific eye protection can save your vision. Eye protection during any activity with potential for injury can also save vision. Eye protection is more than eyeglasses but specifically safety or sports glasses.
Where can eye injuries occur?
Eye injuries can occur during any activity. One of the highest causes of eye injury is sports especially in children. But eye injuries can occur at home doing basic repairs, yard work, cooking, cleaning, working in the garage or at work, especially construction jobs. At work, know the eye safety dangers and eliminate them prior to working, especially welding or flying objects, hammering metal on metal or radiation.
Eye injuries can also be due to chemicals directly to the eye or chemical vapors, thermal injury from heat sources even curling irons accidents. For chemical exposure, rinse your eyes immediately with copious amounts of water or eyewash. UV protection is also important during sports like snow or water skiing. Bystanders, especially children, should also wear eye protection or leave the area.
It is important to see an eye physician when any eye injury occurs, even it minor. Delaying medical care can lead to vision loss or blindness.
What is Sjögren's Awareness Month?
Sjögren's Awareness Month is sponsored by the Sjögren's Syndrome Foundation. Sjögren's Syndrome is an autoimmune syndrome with hallmark symptoms of dry eye and dry mouth as well as possible problems with fatigue, joint problems and organ dysfunction. The majority of patients are women.
What is Dry Eye Syndrome?
Dry eye syndrome, also known as keratoconjunctivitis sicca, is defined as eyes without a healthy layer of tears on the surface. The lack of tears can be due to lack of adequate production or rapid evaporation. The tear film is composed of 3 layers and depending on the dysfunctional layer and cause, the treatment can be tailored to the individual patient. Symptoms include blurred vision, dryness, burning, foreign body sensation, redness and even tearing. Contributing factors can include systemic autoimmune diseases, blepharitis and meibomitis, environment control, poor blink and systemic medications that can decrease tear production.