Tue, Aug 02, 2016 - Page 3 News List

Exposure to hot weather can damage eyes: doctor

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

If a person’s eyes are exposed to temperatures of 38°C or higher for more than four hours, long-sightedness can worsen rapidly, an ophthalmologist said yesterday.

A 43-year-old woman, surnamed Wu (吳), who often rides her motorcycle for hours every day to reach her customers, complained that her eyes had gotten worse, and on examination it was discovered that her presbyopia had worsened from 100° to 300° in two months.

“If a person’s eyes are exposed to temperatures of more than 38°C for more than four hours, long-sightedness can worsen by three to six times in two months,” Kaohsiung Armed Forces General Hospital ophthalmologist Horng Chi-ting (洪啟庭) said, adding that high temperatures can also cause cataracts.

Horng said that high ambient temperatures and exposure to sunlight can penetrate the cornea and affect the lens of the eye, leading to pathological changes.

A study that Horng conducted in Taiwan alongside Japanese researchers suggested that if people aged between 40 and 50 expose their eyes to temperatures above 38°C for more than four hours continuously, their long-sightedness became three times worse in two months.

He said exposure to high temperatures can also include cooking for long periods or using a warm compress that is too hot or for too long.

In order to prevent long-sightedness from worsening, Horng suggested people wear sunglasses and a hat in bright sunlight, avoid using compresses above 45°C, and only use compresses for about 10 minutes per time and at most six times per day.

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