Combat effects of air pollution on eyes
Living in any metro in India has become quite challenging with a myriad of problems, including extremely high air pollution levels. Every day you glance at the newspaper and one of the first things you will see is a report on how bad the air quality was the previous day. If you reside in Delhi-NCR, you have experienced breathing problems, itchiness, headaches and other problems. Air Quality Index (AQI) numbers have fluctuated between very poor and poor, reaching extremely high levels due the burning of crop waste and post-Diwali particulate matter.
Indoor air pollution too plays a major in decreased eye health.
What are the most common pollutants?
You can choose what to eat and are able to make the right choices for the health of your family and you. But you do not have a choice to change the air that you inhale. So, you have to inhale contaminated air and face the effects of the adulterated air on skin and eyes too.
Air pollution is comprised not only of dust and bigger particulate matter, but there are many invisible, toxic substances, chemicals, as well as biological materials.
The most common pollutants which are present in the outdoor and indoor environment are:
- Particulate matter
- Ground level ozone
- Carbon monoxide
- Sulfur dioxide
- Nitrogen dioxide
- Hydrogen sulphate
All these pollutants cause the following health problems in people, to those who are exposed to the outdoors, the elderly, pregnant women, infants and children.
- Asthma attacks, wheezing, shortness of breath, coughing
- Eye problems like Stinging, Excessive tearing, Red eyes
- Eye infections
- Dry eye syndrome
- Respiratory infections
- Pulmonary disease
- Cardiovascular problems
- Lung cancer
Air pollution and your eyes
According to a study by the Global Healing Center, an astounding amount of toxic residue, almost 40%, from burning of garbage, crop waste etc are floating around in the air. Therefore, it is no surprise that the moment we step out of our homes, we inhale this polluted air and face health problems.
Eyes, too suffer from all the dust and debris and chemical which are in the air. In fact, the high amount of carbon present in the atmosphere has led a team of innovators to manufacture black ink extracted from the air! So, you can imagine the damage your lungs and all other organs of the body faces due to greenhouse gases, including the sensitive part of the eyes exposed daily outdoors.
Your eyes may be itching, stinging, tearing, becoming red and sore, which are some short-term effects of air pollution on the eyes. This has been observed by ophthalmologists in India and China which are two countries troubled by smog. And in the long-term, eyes fall prey to the dry-eye syndrome.
Eye problems caused by air pollution
The major eye health problems which are associated with polluted air are:
- Increased hyperemia
- Excessive watering of eyes
- Fluctuating vision
- Foreign body sensation
- Contact lens’ discomfort/intolerance
- Tired Eyes
Chemical conjunctivitis too, is another eye problem which has been linked to high rates of air pollution, according to studies in China.
How do Carbon monoxide, Sulphur monoxide, Hydrogen sulphate, lead and CFC harm your eyes
Some studies have thrown up some data detailing the link between carbon monoxide (CO) and eyes. The eyes as well as the brain can have permanent effects including carbon monoxide poisoning when exposed to the odorless, clear gas. Retinal hemorrhage may occur if one is exposed to CO for more than 12 hours.
As for Sulphur dioxide, it irritates the mucous membranes of the body, including the eyes, throat, nose and lungs. Therefore, Sulphur dioxide in polluted air may be the reason why your eyes are irritated when you go out, as it can stick to your eyes/eyelids.
Hydrogen sulphate affects the eyeball’s anterior chamber (between the cornea and iris) which is filled with fluid. When this pollutant comes in contact with the fluid, known as aqueous humor, it causes dizziness, and in some rare cases leads to blindness.
The gas, CFC released by aerosol sprays, refrigerators and air conditioners, lead to ozone layer depletion. This causes UV rays to penetrate earth’s atmosphere and then these rays damage the skin and eyes.
Lead poisoning due to the lead emitted by consumer products such as paint, craft supplies, plumbing materials and gasoline is a big concern. Lead poisoning can affect vision too, including the development of the eyes. Studies have linked lead to decreased eye heath, including problems in vision (difficulty seeing in poor light), chronic eye irritation and blurred vision, and even cataracts in elderly people. Children are at risk too, as lead affects their eyes which are still developing and lead in the air can lead to decreased lens transparency.
Ways to protect your eyes from air pollution
- Staying hydrated drink adequate water, eat food with antioxidants like Lutein, Vit C & E can help keeping eyes healthy.
- Try to limit outdoor time
- Clean every day your eyes & eyelids with Soft Eyelid Cleanser and Eyelid Wipes.
- Protect eyes with clear, safety glasses
- Wear sunglasses
- Clean your contact lenses thoroughly
- Use air purifiers and humidifiers at home
How eyelid hygiene can keep your eyes safe from air pollution
Air pollutants may stick to the eyelids, and cause blockage to the eye glands, causing eye infections like Blepharitis, Meibomian Gland Dysfunction and Dry Eye Syndrome.
The use of eyelid wipes and cleansers has not picked up in India, and in fact, the concept is very new. But using eyelid wipes like pre-moistened eyelid wipes such as Oculeaf, can help to keep your eyes hydrated, lubricated and CLEAN, from dust, debris, toxic chemicals and gases.
Oculeaf Eyelid Wipes and Cleansers take out/clean all the dust/debris and chemicals like CO, CFC, Sulphur monoxide, hydrogen sulphate and other invisible gases and chemicals present in polluted air. Besides Tea Tree Oil in Oculeaf Wipes & Cleanser as well cleanse germs / bacteria’s around eyes improving eyelids hygiene.
By cleaning your eyes with Eyelid Wipes and Cleansers, twice a day, every day, you and your family can be safe from the ill-effects of indoor and outdoor air pollution.