Air Pollution Causes Irreversible Damage to The Eyes

With AQI values in the majority of India’s major cities reaching dangerously high levels, it is taking a big toll on our eyes, posing a significant risk to our eye health and eyesight in general. Air pollution has been linked to an increased risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a progressive and irreversible visual loss that can lead to blindness.Also Read – Delhi Govt To Ask E-Com Companies, Delivery Partners, Cab Aggregators To Completely Switch To EVs

AMD is the major cause of permanent blindness among those over the age of 50 in high-income nations, with 300 million people expected to be afflicted by 2040. Also Read – As Delhi’s Air Quality Improves, Govt Lifts Ban on Construction Activities, Entry of Trucks

Certain people, such as elderly patients, smokers, Covid patients, and people with heart and lung problems, are especially vulnerable to high amounts of pollution. Also Read – Delhi Air Pollution: Ban on Construction and Demolition Activities To Be Lifted From This Date

Individuals who travel in highly polluted areas, as well as those who stay outside for a lengthy amount of time, are equally at risk.

Fine ambient particulate matter with an aerodynamic diameter of 2.5 micrometres, nitrogen dioxide, and sulphur dioxide are all associated with an increased risk of self-reported age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

Air pollution is a global issue that many people cannot avoid, with the World Health Organization (WHO) claiming that more than 99 per cent of the world’s population lives in areas where air quality levels exceed the limits established for chemicals that pose health concerns.

Dry Eye Disease, watering and burning sensations, impaired vision, cataracts, irritation, allergies, and even glaucoma are some of the symptoms that are commonly noticed following ocular exposure to air pollution.

While long-term solutions are required to reduce air pollution, eye specialists feel that some preventive actions, such as wearing sunglasses and limiting eye contact with airborne contaminants, can assist. Artificial tears and eye drops can help lubricate the eyes and keep irritation at bay.

In the absence of an infection or allergy, the treatment for the ocular symptoms of air pollution exposure is simply to cool the eyes by using a cold compress.

Cosmetics and contact lenses should be avoided in the event of pain until the eyes have totally recovered. If any symptoms continue, a complete eye examination should be undertaken to determine the underlying reason.

In addition, one must also practise “preventive maintenance” by seeing an eye doctor on a regular basis, which can help reduce the likelihood of getting an eye ailment. Furthermore, having a diet rich in important vitamins and minerals, staying healthy, quitting smoking, and maintaining hand cleanliness will aid in taking early precautions.

(Authored by Dr Hem Shah , Senior Consultant, Sharp Sight Eye Hospitals) 

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