According to reports, air pollution’s negative effects extend beyond conditions of the heart and lungs to include a number of ocular allergies, such as dry eyes and conjunctivitis. In hospitals, occurrences of severe conjunctivitis and dry eyes have reportedly grown quickly due to the increased particulate matter in the air these days.
The experts believe, the air quality has declined as a result of rising industrial activity and disruptions to ecological equilibriums, which can induce breathing difficulties, acute eye infections, and throat and nose irritation.
In fact, pollutants including nitric oxide, nitrogen dioxide, and sulphur dioxide can cause irritation and inflammation. Additionally, a steady rise in carbon dioxide and monoxide levels can affect vision.
Director of Sharp Sight, Dr. Samir Sud, told IANS, “the cornea is the most sensitive structure in the eye and this can be affected by environmental agents. As the eyes defend against harmful materials only by a thin layer of the precorneal tear film, they are more susceptible to various diseases. Dry eyes, conjunctivitis and eye allergy like itching, redness, eyelid swelling, and blurring of vision are some of the health effects on eyes due to pollution”.
Dr. Himanshu Garkoti, an Ophthalmologist at RML hospital, said “Chances of getting allergic inflammation remains high during early hours of morning and in the evening because of dense smog, so it is advisable to wear specs while going for morning walk especially for elderly people and children”. However, air pollution continues to be a major cause of eye conditions in people of all ages. It can cause irritation and inflammation, which can result in redness, watering, and other vision-related issues, Dr Garkoti added.
According to Dr. Sandeep Buttan, the Technical Lead at Eye Health & Health System Strengthening in Sightsavers India, drinking a lot of water to stay hydrated is very important. Because it flushes out all the toxins and helps the eyes in tear formation, which is essential to prevent dry eyes and to get rid of irritants that may be present underneath the eyelids.
Another simple practice to prevent the damage caused by air pollution is to blink your eyes properly, because while blinking a special protective tear film is produced which provides the eyes with moisture and prevents pollutants to get settled. Dr. Sandeep Buttan, also stressed on the importance of having a healthy diet that includes plenty of Vitamin A and Omega-3 fatty acid content in addition to green vegetables and fruits.
As per the experts, giving rest to your eyes is also very important for the healing process so, reducing screen time is also important. Proper hygiene like washing hands, and face with clean water and using prescribed eye drops can help to undo the damage done to one’s eyes. Avoiding heavy eye makeup or removing the eye makeup properly is also very important to avoid allergies and infections. If one’s eyes are already irritated then it is better to avoid wearing lenses. Air purifiers at home can also help to reduce the level of particulate matter in the air.