Burden of allergic conjunctivitis up due to air pollution: Experts

By Avinash Prabhakar

New Delhi, Nov 22 (IANS): Air pollution is the cause of many respiratory diseases. However, its impact goes beyond the lungs and the heart, and it also causes diseases linked with ocular allergy.

Experts say that the burden of acute conjunctivitis and the dry eye has significantly increased in hospitals these days due to the particulate matter in the air quality. The dry eyes, conjunctivitis and eye allergy - characterised by itching, are some of the main concerns caused by the rising air pollution.

Talking to IANS, Dr Himanshu Garkoti, Ophthalmologist at RML hospital, said, "We have noticed the increasing trends of patients visiting hospital complaining of ocular allergy and the conjunctivitis due to air pollutants. The risk increases for elderly people and those who have undergone eye surgery recently."

"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," he said. However, among all age groups, air pollution remains main causes of eye ailments and can lead to irritation and inflammation resulting into the redness of eyes, watery eyes, and other vision related problems, Dr Garkoti added.

"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 Samir Sud, Director, Sharp Sight, told IANS.

Air pollutants comprises of nitric oxide, sulphur dioxide, and nitrogen dioxide can cause burning sensation and irritation. Along with this, increasing carbon monoxide and dioxide can also cause discomfort to the vision.

Minimising exposure to outdoor air pollutants and staying indoors can lower the risk of ocular allergy and infection.



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