Health Hour

Protect Your Eyes from the Wrath of Air Pollution This Winter

Eye-related diseases and problems are common nowadays. While some minor problems go away with time, others may require special care.

There are numerous factors that may cause eye diseases. However, not many people are aware about the damage caused by air pollution. Major metropolitan cities like Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, etc., have borne the brunt of air pollution, which has triggered a number of eye-related problems in these cities. The government, however, is making efforts to reduce the air pollution through a National Clean Air Programme initiative, which is expected to reduce particulate matter levels by 20-30% in at least 102 cities by 2024.

Most people believe that air pollution is only dangerous for the respiratory system. But the numbers speak a different story. Last year, hundreds of people were affected by a lethal combination of fog and smoke. Patients complained about eye-related problems, such as redness, irritation, blurred vision, etc. All these problems can lead to severe complications, if not treated at the right time.

This year, the Meteorological department has again predicted high levels of pollution, just like it was witnessed last year. At this point, it is important to take precautions and protect the eyes. Medical practitioners suggest taking these precautions to prevent eye-related diseases and problems:

  • Wash your hands regularly and avoid rubbing the eyes
  • Drink a lot of water throughout the day to stay hydrated
  • Stay inside during peak hours of smog, especially in the morning
  • Consume foods rich in Vitamin A. Green leafy vegetables and carrots are good for the eyes.
  • Regular exercise such as walking can reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration by up to 70 percent.
  • Always wear sunglasses that shield your eyes from 100 percent of the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays. This may help reduce your risk of cataracts, pinguecula and other eye problems.
  • Regular eye exams also will keep your prescription for eyeglasses or contact lenses up to date so you are seeing as clearly as possible.
  • Don’t smoke: People who smoke are at greater risk of developing age-related macular degeneration, cataracts, uveitis and other eye problems.
  • Take breaks while working on PC: Working on a computer all day can give you dry eyes. Dry eyes can also be caused by Inflammation, Certain medications, including antidepressants and Hormonal changes due to aging.
  • Keeping normal blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
  • Reduce alcohol consumption

By taking the above precautions, you can avoid the dangers of infecting your eyes. However, if you still have the symptoms, it’s advised to visit the nearby hospital.

If the problem is treated at the right time, there are more chances of faster recovery. So remember, precaution is always better than cure.


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