Deciding when exactly to get a cataract surgery done has always been a quite difficult task to take up.  And now the Covid -19 pandemic is posing even more questions about the timings of the cataract surgery. Should we get it right now? Is it safe to do it now? I ‘m sure many of you have gone through this phase and will certainly agree with me.

Well having a cataract is like looking through a foggy or a dusty glass. The images appear blurred, hazy and less bright. Cataracts generally develop gradually over a period of time.

So the next question is when should I do my cataract surgery? Can I wait for a few more months? If I wait will there be any further complications? Well I would say that it is all about your function level. Unless your vision is severely impaired, then there is no urgency to get the cataract surgery done.

If the loss of vision affects your safety or you find it extremely difficult to carry out your daily activities like  even walking up to the restroom , or you find it difficult to drive, read, cook or watch TV  and you are totally dependent on someone else   then you must surely not delay in getting the cataract surgery done.

It is important to get a complete examination as your ophthalmologist will be able to assess your vision, evaluate the rate at which the cataract is maturing, and monitor the intraocular pressure and even the retina. Ultimately I would like to say that careful monitoring; good communication between the patient and the doctor will usually result in a successful outcome .

Telehealth:

While telehealth has been quite successfully used in ophthalmology, I would still recommend that it is always better to meet the doctor in person before you plan for surgery. Telehealth can be useful when you want to discuss the various symptoms of cataract but before you schedule a surgery it is important to confirm that the decline in your vision is because of cataract and not due to any other cause. And also prior to doing the surgery the ophthalmologist has to thoroughly evaluate the eye and see if it is safe to operate.

Let me share with you some tips that you can try at home to delay the cataract and protect your  eyes

  • Wear sun glasses   or a hat whenever you go outside to block the harmful ultraviolet sunlight.
  • Avoid smoking.
  • Make sure you eat healthy. Incorporate green leafy vegetables, fruits and food with antioxidants.
  • Make sure any chronic disease like diabetes or high blood pressure is always kept under good control.

Wearing a mask can cause eye discomfort.

When you wear a mask most of the time the exhaled air tends to go into the eye and this generates a very uncomfortable feeling and naturally there is a tendency to touch your eyes. But if your hands are contaminated then you are certainly going to infect yourself.  So as much as possible all you could do is try and resist yourself from touching your eyes or face but more importantly wash your hands with soap for 20 seconds immediately once you come back from outside or if you have touched the door handles, food packets, vegetable or milk packets  or anything else where the germs can thrive immediately get your hands washed.

  • Can be uncomfortable.

It is also important that the mask you wear has the right fit. If it is the right fit it will prevent you from constantly touching the mask to either pull it down or push it up .But remember the mask that you wear should be snug but not tight. Tight masks can hurt your face and it gives you less room to breathe well and comfortably.  Moreover even the cloth material used can also have an impact. Cotton material is considered to have a better ventilation and traps less moisture that tends to build up while your breathing.

  • Breathing difficulty.

Like we have experienced breathing certainly becomes quite difficult when you wear a mask. And in individuals who have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease where in there is a decreased air flow, face masks are certainly intolerable and they worsen the breathlessness. And moreover a certain amount of carbon dioxide which was previously exhaled gets inhaled during each respiratory cycle.

In a lot of Covid patients that I have treated, breathing difficulty was very commonly seen. What I would like to advice is if you are suspected or a confirmed case of Covid -19 it is better to quarantine yourself from others and then remove your mask and stay comfortable. In this way neither will you be contaminating anyone nor won’t your breathing be hampered.

  • Fogging of the glass.

Normally we all exhale warm air and this dissipates into the atmosphere. But when we wear a mask , it tends to go upwards and fog our glasses and this can be extremely annoying.

I have shared some tips in one of the posts as to how we could prevent this from happening.

  • Close conversations

It is quite natural that when you wear a mask the quality and the volume of your speech gets affected and you naturally tend to come closer to the other person. But don’t forget and make sure you stay six feet away from someone while talking.

  • A false hope.

Many individuals have this notion that wearing a mask will certainly protect them from the corona virus. Well masks have to be worn mandatorily but apart from that you should also wash your hands frequently, maintain social distance and disinfect commonly touched surfaces.

  • Masks also need to be cleaned.

Masks are meant to stop the spread of germs and not spread germs themselves. Make sure your masks are clean. They need to be routinely washed depending how often you use them. Also make sure you don’t touch your eyes, nose, and mouth when you remove your masks and wash your hands immediately after removing the mask.

  • The vulnerable population

Never use cloth face masks on young children especially those below the age of 2 years or for that matter anyone who has trouble breathing or is unconscious, incapacitated or unable to remove the mask without any assistance.

  • Effect on the skin

In those individuals who have dry skin wearing a mask can be troublesome. So apply moisturizer before wearing the mask. This can prevent skin irritation when the mask constantly touches the skin.

In order to  protect ourselves from the deadly corona virus it is very essential we take good care of our eyes , nose, mouth and hands .So I am going to share with you some tips that I have found to be useful  and  effective.

  • Avoid contact lens

There has been no conclusive study which says that wearing contact lens will cause corona virus infection. But certainly contact lens wearers tend to touch their eyes more often than an average person. On the other hand when you wear glasses you tend to touch your eyes a lot lesser and  it forces you to stop before touching your eyes.

  • Try to wear glasses.

Try wearing your corrective glasses or sunglasses as this can protect your eyes from the infected respiratory droplets. However this cannot provide a 100% security as some particles can still reach your eyes either from the exposed sides, top or bottom of the glasses.

  • Eye medicine,

Make sure eye the medicines that you require on a regular basis like for the glaucoma medications or those critical eye drops are stocked up so that even if you are quarantined or when supplies start becoming limited during an outbreak, you don’t have to worry 

  • Avoid rubbing your eyes.

It can be quite challenging to break this habit of constant rubbing of your eyes. But if you can overcome it then it will certainly lower the infection. In case if there is an urge to itch or rub your eyes or even adjust the glasses make sure you use a tissue and not your fingers. Even dry eyes can lead to itchy eyes. So make sure your eyes are constantly lubricated. Another important thing which you have to be very cautious is while putting the eye drops, make it a point to wash your hands first with soap and water for 20 seconds and wash them again after touching the eyes.

  • Good hygiene

 Try to maintain a good personal hygiene. Make sure your hands are washed frequently. In situations where you have to wear contact lens, you must strictly follow the contact lens hygiene protocol. Consult your ophthalmologist immediately if you have any  symptoms like congestion of the eyes or  diminution of vision .