Due to the heatwave in England, the Met Office has issued an extreme heat warning for the first time ever.
Exeter, where the Met Office is based and where I live and work, is today hotter than Delhi or Lagos.
Why do we seldom hear about the effect of extreme heat on our eyes?
Plenty of common sense advice is broadcast in hot weather, such as drinking plenty of fluids and wearing cool and loose clothing. But very little is said about how extreme hot weather affects our eyes and what we can do about it.
Actually, high temperatures and dry summer winds have a debilitating effect on our eyes. Simply put, they make our tears evaporate faster which leads directly to a range of symptoms which are collectively called Dry Eye Syndrome.
Dry Eye symptoms include redness, irritation and a burning sensation. Severe dry eye sufferers may actually produce more tears than normal, but of poor quality so they do not lubricate their eyes properly.
Added to these symptoms, high temperatures boost the level of irritants in the air such as pollen and pollutants from vehicle emissions, which may lead to eye allergies such as allergic conjunctivitis.
Dry eye syndrome is the commonest eye problem in most countries, although it gets little publicity. Perhaps the reason is that many sufferers show few outward signs, those signs are not dramatic like the symptoms of heat stroke, and sufferers just put up with the condition. I believe that this is why dry eye syndrome is often overlooked in the media.
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