When talking about the effects of pollution, such as smog, on human health, many people think of the effect on the circulatory system. It's true that the hearts and lungs suffer a lot when you breathe in polluted air, but they aren't the only organs that suffer from air pollution. For example, do you know that air pollution also affects the eyes?
The eye is a very sensitive organ, and air pollutants affect it in more ways than one. The most common effect, however, is the dry eye syndrome. There is evidence that pollution dries out the eye, probably because the air pollutants choke up the tear ducts and prevents them from producing adequate tears, which leads to dry eye syndrome.
Some air pollutants, such as industrial chemicals, may also elicit allergic reactions in some people. Apart from that, pollutant particles, such as dirt, rubber, and cement particles, irritate and inflame the eye.
Symptoms of dry eye syndrome include a burning sensation in the eye, heavy eyelids, blurred vision, redness of the eyes, pain in the eyes, and discharge from the eyes, among others. Treatment involves dealing with the underlying problem. Anti-inflammatory medications are usually used to prevent permanent damage to irritated eyes. You may also require allergy treatment if you are suffering from allergic reactions of pollutants.
Preventing the Effect in Your Eyes
As with other health conditions, prevention is better than cure; it's best to prevent pollution from affecting your eyes in the first place. Here are some helpful measures to try:
Maintain Good Indoor Air Quality
You may not be able to do much about the outside air, but you can keep the level of air pollutants in your house down if you so wish. One of the best ways to improve indoor air quality is to use an air cleaner, which scrubs pollutants from your indoor air.
Eye glasses may not protect you from all pollutants, but it will keep some of them (especially the bigger ones) from entering your eyes. This means you are less likely to suffer from irritated or inflamed eyes if you use eyeglasses or protective goggles.
Hydration will not keep pollutants from your eyes, but it will mitigate their effect on your eyes. The more hydrated you are, the less likely that you will suffer from dry eye syndrome, which means you will escape the symptoms associated with the symptom.
Consult an ophthalmologist if you are already suffering from pollution-related eye problems. Do this as early as possible so that the doctor can prevent further damage and advise you on more ways of mitigating the effect of pollutants on your eyes.