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Air pollution and eyes

By editor
August 23, 2015

Our eyes are the most delicate tissue in our bodies exposed to the atmosphere.  It is natural to assume that air quality and air pollution affect our eyes.  We collected several articles and publications that address this issue. What can we do to protect our eyes from the pollutants in the air that are all around us and we do not notice it on the regular basis?

The first symptom people experience in polluted air is eye dryness.  This condition causes eye irritation, tearing, itchiness, redness.  People living in large cities where pollution is higher experience dry eye condition at much higher levels than in rural areas where air is cleaner. This article details the statistics about dry eyes conditions in cities:

http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=175282

What can be done to counteract air pollution effects on our eyes? Certainly avoiding the exposure is the first defense. However the majority of us cannot leave the cities where we work, where the extended families live, where we have friends.  Acknowledging that air pollution can affect our eyes, using humidifiers and air filters, using lubricating eye drops, protecting your home and lowering indoor pollution of your own household, trips to parks and out of the city to rural areas with better air are some methods that we can use to protect our eyes from the city pollution. Here are some more detailed advise from the reputable sources:

http://news.essilorusa.com/stories/detail/ct-air-pollution-causing-dry-eyes-heres-what-to-do

http://www.webmd.com/children/environmental-exposure-head2toe/vocs

Another way air pollution affects our eyes is through use of household chemicals.  We often think of those chemicals affecting our lungs and breathing passages. However many household chemicals can impact eyes. Those chemicals are required to have warnings on the labels. However in the hectic styles of our lives we sometimes overlook those warnings, do not have time to read or brush those off as not significant. It is very important to read and follow labels on the chemicals we use.  Some affect your eyes only if they are in direct contact with the eye. However others can produce fumes that affect eyes at a distance, those should be used in well ventilated spaces when we work with them. Common chemicals such as bleach, super-glue, nail polish remover, strong kitchen and bath cleaning liquids, plumbing clog removal chemicals, solvents and others produce fumes harmful to eyes.

Several articles from trusted sources provide additional lists of the chemicals we all use to be aware of and detail what can be done to protect our eyes:

http://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/healthy_living/hic_Steps_to_Staying_Well/hic_Household_Chemicals_Whats_in_my_House

http://www.everydayhealth.com/healthy-home/toxins-chemicals/is-your-home-safe-for-your-family.aspx

http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/health-hazards-to-know-about/top-10-hazardous-household-chemicals

Work with your eye doctor to treat any affects of air pollution or household chemicals to your eyes. Go the emergency room immediately if the effects are acute.  However please think how to protect yourself and your family from those affects on the regular basis.

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