Delhi has witnessed the worst form of pollution this year. There is a sudden spurt in respiratory illnesses, causing people to throng to hospitals. Other than lungs, our eyes too bear the brunt of the toxic particulate matter in the air.
There is a spectrum of eye related symptoms due to air pollution, the most common being:
Redness, watering, ropy discharge, burning sensation, itching, dry gritty sensation, visual problems due to itching or watering, eyelid swelling, infections etc.
School going children and people with outdoor activities are more vulnerable to pollution. Dry winter air, makes the already irritated eyes more sensitive, by increasing the dryness.
There are patients of all age groups admitted to hospitals for eye problems. Pollution is one of the culprit causing eye allergies.
Experts suggest few preventive measures to combat the effect of dryness & pollution in this season:
1. Wear sunglasses with UV protection:– The UV rays of the strong sun can damage eyes especially in beaches and snowy conditions. Sunglasses & Goggles protect the eyes from particulate matter & dry wind.
2. Keep your eyes moist: – Hot dry air from heaters & blowers can cause dryness & irritation of eyes. To alleviate symptoms, artificial tear drops are recommended. Prevention is by use of humidifiers and avoiding sitting directly in front of heat sources. Allergies are treated with anti-allergic and decongestant eye drops.
3. Prevent the spread of conjunctivitis and other eye infections by washing hands frequently, Avoid rubbing eyes with dirty hands.
4. In case of eye irritation & foreign body in eye- avoid rubbing eyes and wash with water. See an eye specialist, if redness, watering & excessive sensitivity to light (PHOTOPHOBIA) persists.
5. Cold Compresses: – Give relief to itchy, inflamed eyes.
6. Avoid contact lens and eye makeup if eyes feeling sore.
7. Get your child's eye check-up done if he/she complains of sore/tired eyes. Do not attribute every complain to allergy/pollution.
8. Prolonged computer work can also increase pre-existing dryness because of infrequent blinking. Take frequent computer breaks, look away from computer screen at far away objects focusing for a few seconds, before going back to your screen.
These simple measures can help you in having a healthy vision and preventing the eyes from hazardous effects of pollution. So, Delhiites welcome the wonderful winter season, without the agony of dry and sore eyes.