Islamabad - Health experts have urged people to not to ignore symptoms like redness, swelling or burning sensation in the eyes and consult an ophthalmologist immediately as it could be a conjunctivitis, corneal ulcer or stye that are quite common during monsoon.

“People enjoy the monsoon season but they are not aware that even direct contact between the eyes and the rain water can cause many types of infections,” said Kamal B Kapur, an ophthalmologist associated with city-based Sharp Eye Centre, the guardian reported. He said a corneal ulcer was one of the most serious infections during the monsoon. In such conditions, the cornea develops an open sore, and if wrongly medicated it can lead to blindness.

“Its symptoms are extreme pain, pus discharge and blurred vision. It immediately requires the attention of an eye specialist, so one should not delay,” said Kapur.

Vishal Dutta, an ophthalmologist said that during the monsoon, eye styes were very common and were usually caused due to the bacterial infections. “Eye stye occurs in the form of a lump on the eyelid. Its symptoms are excruciating pain, pus discharge, and redness over eyelids.

Its basic treatment is warm and cold compresses at home, eye drops and other medication. But if the size of the lump increases, the patient needs to visit an ophthalmologist,” he said.

Talking about eye-related hygiene during the monsoon, he said: “One should avoid sharing towels and similar personal items with others, because infections mostly spread through hands, clothes and other commonly touched items.”

“If own with conjunctivitis, they should wash hands after administering drops as that may lead to the spread of infection,” he said. “In case of red eye, one should avoid over-the-counter eye drops as they may contain steroids which can be harmful, and instead seek expert advice. Also one should avoid using contact lens during this period. Wearing glasses when ravelling helps,” he said. Dutta urged people to always wash hands after coming from outside to prevent any sort of bacteria accumulation.

“Try to keep children away from puddles and water-logged areas. Children often like to have fun in or around such places but they are highly bacteria- prone,” Dutta said.

Cancer deaths worldwide to raise over 11m in 2030

World Health Organization (WHO) has said that deaths from cancer worldwide are projected to continue to rise over 11 million in 2030. According to WHO, cancer is a leading cause of death worldwide as it accounted for 7.6 million deaths which is around 13% of all deaths in 2008. Lung, stomach, liver, colon and breast cancer cause the most cancer deaths each year, reported in media.

In the WHO Western Pacific Region, it is estimated that close to 4.07 million new cases occurred in 2008 with 2.31 million in men and 1.75 million in women, it said.

The most frequent types of cancer differ between men and women.

About 30 per cent of cancer deaths are due to the five leading behavioral and dietary risks included high body mass index, low fruit and vegetable intake, physical inactivity, tobacco use and alcohol use. Similarly, infectious agents are responsible for almost

22 per cent of cancer deaths in the developing world and 6 per cent in industrialized countries, it added.

Tobacco use is the single largest preventable cause of cancer in the world causing 22 per cent of cancer deaths. About 70 per cent of the lung cancer burden can be attributed to smoking alone.

It said early diagnosis programmes are particularly relevant in low-resource settings where the majority of patients are diagnosed in very late stages.

The WHO said that systematic application of a screening test in an asymptomatic population aimed at identifying individuals with abnormalities suggestive of a specific cancer or pre-cancer and refer them promptly for diagnosis and treatment.

Screening programmes are especially effective for frequent cancer types that have a screening test that is cost-effective, affordable, acceptable and accessible to the majority of the population at risk.

It said that the global action plan calls for national, international and multicultural action across multiple areas to reduce cancer risks in populations, and to strengthen health care delivery systems for people with cancer.

Environmental and infectious causes are important for cancer prevention so that WHO’s guidance in those areas is part of the comprehensive approach.

Poor sleep linked to Alzheimer’s disease

Poor sleep may increase people’s risk of Alzheimer’s disease, by spurring a brain-clogging gunk that in turn further interrupts shut-eye, a new study suggests.

Disrupted sleep may be one of the missing pieces in explaining how a hallmark of Alzheimer’s, a sticky protein called beta-amyloid, starts its damage long before people have trouble with memory, reported in media.

Sleep problems are treatable and a key next question is whether improving sleep can make a difference in protecting seniors’ brains, researchers said.

Enough sleep is important for good health generally seven to eight hours a night are recommended for adults.

When it comes to the brain, scientists have long known that people who don’t get enough have trouble learning and focusing. And anyone who’s cared for someone with dementia knows the nightly wandering and other sleep disturbances that patients often suffer, long thought to be a consequence of the dying brain cells.

The new research suggests that sleep problems actually interact with some of the disease processes involved in Alzheimer’s, and that those toxic proteins in turn affect the deep sleep that’s so important for memory formation.

Researchers gave PET scans to 26 cognitively healthy volunteers in their 70s to measure build-up of that gunky amyloid. They were given words to memorize, and their brain waves were measured as they slept overnight.

The more amyloid people harbored in a particular brain region, the less deep sleep they got - and the more they forgot overnight. Their memories weren’t transferred properly from the brain’s short-term memory bank into longer-term storage.

Two sleep studies tracked nearly 6,000 people over five years, and found those who had poor sleep quality - they tossed and turned and had a hard time falling asleep - were more likely to develop mild cognitive impairment, early memory problems that sometimes lead to Alzheimer’s.

Sleep apnea brief interruptions of breathing that repeatedly awaken people without them realizing caused a nearly two-fold increase in that risk.