The deteriorating air quality is of serious concern! Have you noticed that your eyes are itchy and burning for the last few days? If yes, the you are experiencing the harmful effects of #airpollution.
Along with its harmful effect on our overall health, pollution takes a toll on our eyes as well.
Air Quality Index
Air quality index is the unit to determine how polluted the air in a particular place is. The higher the AQI value, the greater the level of air pollution and the greater the health concern. For example, an AQI value of 50 or below represents good air quality, while an AQI value over 300 represents hazardous air quality.
Since the winters started, the AQI in northern India has worsened drastically, especially after Diwali.
There are reports of dense smog blocking out the sunlight. Such hazardous levels of pollution is not only causing respiratory distress but many people are also experiencing burning and dryness of eyes. This is due to toxic gasses such as carbon monoxide, nitric oxide, sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide and coarse dust particles.
The table below shows the latest report on AQI. Delhi is the worst hit, along with other north Indian states.
Do you live in any of these states? If yes, do let me know in the comment if you have experienced any eye symptoms recently.
Do you want to know the pollution level in your city? Click this link to find out!
What eye symptoms can you experience due to pollution?
The toxic gases cause dryness of eyes and irritation of your eyes. You may experience following symptoms
- Eye redness
- Watering eyes
- Eye soreness
- Mild swelling of eyes
- Foreign body sensation
- Mild blurring of vision
Apart from eye symptoms, you may also experience general symptoms due to pollution such as breathing difficulty, wheezing, uneasiness, malaise and muscle cramps.
How to protect your eyes from harmful effects of air pollution?
We are living in a proverbial gas chamber. We need to put in a collective effort to reduce air pollution and improve the air quality, but that will take some time.
For now, you could follow a few simple steps to keep your eyes protected in the hazardous environment that we are living in.
1. Stay indoors
Smog is bad for you. It is best to stay indoors during peak smog hours, especially early morning, to avoid inhaling toxic air and to prevent the harmful gasses from causing irritation in your eyes.
If you do need to step out, do wear protective sunglasses
2. Stay hydrated
You are going to need a good amount of water to detox your body from the harmful gasses you are inhaling with every breath. Also, since pollution tends to dry out your eyes, staying hydrated will help your retain the natural moisture of your eyes.
Around 8 to 10 glasses of water in a day is recommended.
3. Eat right
Your eyes are going to need the right amount of Vitamin A and Omega-3-fatty acids to repair the damage caused due to pollution.
Make sure you include these antioxidant rich foods in your diet.
4. Keep your hands clean
Maintain good hand hygiene and avoid touching or rubbing your eyes. If you rub your eyes, the symptoms will worsen.
If your eyes are too itchy, just place cotton moistened with cool water over closed eyelids. This will relieve the itching and will help your eyes relax.
5. Avoid contact lenses
Our eyes tend to be extra sensitive due to the toxic gasses in the air. Wearing contact lenses at this time could worsen the irritation.
Spectacles are a safer option.
6. Use artificial tears eye drops
Lubricating eye drops or artificial tears eye drops contain carboxymethylcellulose 0.5% that helps keep your eyes cool and moist.
You could use these eye drops 2-3 times a day to wash out the toxins and to soothe your eyes.
Remember, never use antibiotics, steroids or any other eye drops without your doctor’s advice. It could lead to serious side effects, sometimes even loss of vision.
7. Avoid digital eye strain
Limit the time your spend looking at your phones, tablets and laptops. We often blink less while working on digital screens, this worsening the dryness and causing digital eye strain.
If your work is unavoidable, do take regular breaks to help your eyes relax. Follow these tips to reduce digital eye strain.
8. Avoid eye makeup
Eye makeup such as Kajal and mascara can increase eye irritation. If you do need to wear eye makeup, make sure you choose a good hypoallergenic brand, check the expiry date before applying and do not forget to remove the eye makeup before going to sleep.
9. Seek Medical Advice
If irritation persists despite taking the above measures, do visit your eye doctor and get your eyes examined.
Remember your eyes are delicate and extremely important, so if you have any symptoms that persist beyond a few days, it is always best to seek medical advice as soon as possible.
Eyes are precious. I hope this article will help you protect your eyes from this rising pollution.
If you have any questions, drop in a comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
I’ll see you soon in my next blog, till then take good care of your eyes and stay healthy!