As of 2022, a total of 132 cities in India have reported air pollution levels deemed below national standards. With coal-powered power plants, and harmful emissions from factories, vehicles, and other sources, we are constantly surrounded by several pollutants that cause irritation in the eyes, skin and lungs. 

Polluted air is hard to evade when compared to other forms of pollution and hence leads to major health impacts. Therefore, it is important that you realise how vulnerable and sensitive your eyes are to the pollutants in the air. 

In this blog, we will be talking about the most dangerous form of air pollution and its effects on our eyes 一 Smog. 

What is smog? 

Smog is a type of air pollution that is formed from a mixture of smoke and fog. It is caused by coal combustion, automotive emissions, industrial emissions, forest and agricultural fires, and photochemical reactions between other pollutants like nitrogen oxides, sulphur oxides, ozone, etc. 

The human eye is extremely vulnerable to the above components. When it is exposed to such an environment for a long time, harmful effects start to show up.

Harmful effects of Smog on the eyes 

When your eyes are exposed to toxic elements mixed with moisture from the fog, the results can be quite concerning. Some of the effects of smog are as follows-  

  • Redness and irritation 
  • Dry eyes 
  • Stinging sensation 
  • Mucus formation in and around the eye
  • Sticky eyelids 
  • Light sensitivity 
  • Watery eyes 

Sometimes conditions like conjunctivitis, age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma, etc. can also show up from long term exposure to smog. Hence, when exposed to high levels of pollution one must follow precautions to avoid further damage to your eyes.

Protecting eyes from Smog

There are several practices that an individual living in a highly polluted city must absolutely follow to minimise the symptoms that result from exposure to smog. Some of them are as follows- 

  • Staying indoors on days when there is a warning issued regarding air pollution levels
  • Wearing protective eyeglasses while outside, whenever possible 
  • Regularly washing your hands and avoiding touching your eyes
  • Staying hydrated to help adequate tear formation 
  • Lubricating eyes with eye drops 
  • Limiting the use of contact lenses
  • Washing out your eyes with cold water as soon as you get home 
  • Eating a healthy diet that includes leafy greens, almonds, fish, papaya and other food items that are good for the eyes
  • In case any form of irritation persists, visiting your ophthalmologist for an evaluation immediately 

And finally, make sure you are actively putting in efforts to reduce air pollution by using public transport, avoiding domestic burning, planting more trees, etc. It will not only help the environment but will also help keep you and your loved ones out of harm’s way.  

On that note, if you or someone you know has been facing eye irritation as a result of air pollutants, don’t hesitate to reach out to the best eye hospital in Mangalore for eye treatment一 Prasad Netralaya. Staffed with the best doctors and state-of-the-art equipment, we can provide you with the quality care you need. You can call us at +91 9513596565 or book an appointment if you wish to visit in person. You can also book a teleconsultation.

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