Valentine’s Day is fast approaching, and many of us will be preparing or hoping for a date. But with only 27% of women relying on male condoms to protect themselves during sex, why should attention be put on the importance of wrapping up this Valentine’s Day.
Lenstore’s optometrist expert, Roshni Patel, has explained how sexually transmitted diseases can go undetected and also have serious implications on our eyesight and overall health.
Roshni Patel said: ‘Practising safe sex is extremely important and can protect individuals from sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Some STDs can start as asymptomatic, which, if left untreated, can cause serious health-related problems that can also impact your eyesight, including eye infections and even blindness.’
‘Herpes-type 2 usually causes genital warts. Though not very common, herpes can lead to eye disease if left untreated. The herpes virus lays dormant, and therefore herpes-related eye infections can recur over time. Chlamydia trachomatis, another common STD, can cause trachoma, a bacterial infection that affects the eyes.’
Roshni added: ‘If left untreated, trachoma, a hygiene-related disease that can develop from chlamydia, can lead to partial vision loss or blindness. However, trachoma is rare in many countries and is more commonly found in developing nations.’
‘Normally affecting parts of the body involved in sexual contact, those suffering from gonorrhoea may find that their eyes can also be affected. Symptoms usually take three to five days to appear; however, they can also occur as soon as one day or even up to one month after being infected.’
‘The most common eye-related signs and symptoms of this disease include; thick discharge that may appear yellow or green, sensitivity to light and pain or redness in or around the eyes. Gonorrhoea of the eye is extremely rare in adults, but if you think you may have it, it’s important to seek medical treatment as soon as possible so that the right treatment plan is created for you.’
Roshni concluded: ‘Syphilis is an STD that causes rashes and sores to appear on the body. Affecting the whole body once infected, the virus can cause damage that often can’t be preserved by treatment if caught too late. When syphilis affects the eyes, it can cause severe redness and inflammation, optic nerve disease, and even blindness. The recommended treatment for this is intravenous antibiotics.’
‘There are ways in which to reduce your risk of developing an STD. Using condoms and oral sex barriers will help prevent your exposure to STDs while getting tested regularly at your local health clinic will assist in catching them early if you do have an STD.’