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Air Pollution Can Affect Your Eyes; Here's What You Should Do

There are certain precautions we can take to ensure that our eyes do not bear the brunt of pollution.

Air Pollution Can Affect Your Eyes; Heres What You Should Do

You should wash your eyes with clean water

It is that time of the year again when pollution is at its highest and alarm bells are ringing. We all understand the impact of pollution on our lungs but little do we realise that pollution also impacts our eyes. In the current season eye clinics are seeing increase in number of cases of allergic eye disease and dry eyes. The allergies are often secondary to the direct contact eyes have with suspended particulate matter in the air and volatile substances. The negative impact is further heightened by the reducing humidity levels and lack of precipitation in this month.

People who are exposed to the high levels of pollution as a result of driving two wheelers or having outdoor field jobs are returning home with red, itchy, watery or puffy eyes. They complaint of a sandy sensation in their eyes and the eye remains pink or red most often in the evenings. Itching may be mild to moderate. Eye allergy is often associated with allergic sinusitis and rhinitis, both of which are linked to the pollution too.

Precautions you should follow

There are certain precautions we can take to ensure that our eyes do not bear the brunt of pollution. These include wearing protective glasses during driving two wheelers or while working in field jobs.

Washing of the eyes with clean running water once in a while is an acceptable practice but if done too frequently in the day it can actually cause worsening of symptoms. Never splash your eyes with water, rather always wash gently and by dipping eyes in a bowl or cupped hand with water.

Use of lubricating eye drops or ant allergic eyedrops is the appropriate treatment for most mild to moderate cases. For severe cases, treatment extends to the use of anti-inflammatory eyedrops and even steroids along with the lubricant and ant allergic topical medication.

Dry eyes are also frequently seen these days. This is due to various reasons including lack of atmospheric humidity, use of air purifiers, over use of allergic medications and direct impact of the pollution itself.

People working for prolonged hours in controlled air conditioned environments should use lubricant eyedrops and take breaks from the screen to minimize dry eyes.

Certain dietary constituents can help decrease the impact of pollution on eyes and the body. These include large intake of fluids, vitamin and anti-oxidant rich fruits, berries and green leafy vegetables as well as nuts and seeds (such as flax seeds).

Certain home remedies such as steam inhalation, sinus irrigation techniques, rose water eye wash or dipping eyes in a cup of clean water and eye blinking exercises can also reduce the impact of pollution on sinuses and eyes.

Remember your eyes are just as exposed to pollution as your lungs, so follow the above precautions and keep your eyes happy.

(Dr Digvijay Singh, Director, Noble Eye Care, Gurugram)

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