Delhi

Watch out for rising air pollution in city, warn ophthalmologists

A pedestrian covers his face with a handkerchief for protection against air pollution, in New Delhi on November 13, 2018.

A pedestrian covers his face with a handkerchief for protection against air pollution, in New Delhi on November 13, 2018.   | Photo Credit: PTI

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Rise in number of patients with eye-related issues observed

Ophthalmologists in Delhi have observed a rise in the number of patients suffering from allergy, burning sensation and itching in the eyes due to high levels of pollution.

Ophthalmologist at Delhi Eye Centre and Sir Ganga Ram Hospital Ikeda Lal said: “We are observing an increase in the number of patients coming to us with complaints like redness, itching and watering eyes. Patients with pre-existing dry eyes are experiencing exacerbation due to high pollution levels. We have observed an increase of almost 30% in the number of patients coming to us with eye-related problems. Pollutants and dust in the air are major reasons for eye allergy and eye-related problems.”

Dry eyes

He said, “People with complains like itching in the eyes are likely to be suffering from allergic eye diseases. Patients with pre-existing dry eyes may experience excessive dryness, irritation and burning due to ocular surface inflammation. In case of any eye problems, consulting an ophthalmologist is recommended. Exposure to polluted air should also be minimised.”

The doctors noted that rising pollution in the city is matter of concern as far as eyes are concerned since they lead to an increase in the incidence of dry eye and ocular allergy.

Rajesh Sinha, Professor of Ophthalmology, All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), added, “High pollution levels cause discomfort even in normal eyes and aggravate complaints in eyes that are prone to dryness and allergies. If care is not taken immediately, some of these eyes can have reduced vision due to this problem as well.”

Basic precautions

Doctors said basic precautions can help deal with allergy caused due to pollution. These include not rubbing itchy eyes, washing them with clean water and repeating the process in case discomfort persists, and using cold compresses to relieve mild itching.

“There has been a 25%-30% increase in eye problems due to high levels of air pollution. Patient are mostly reporting symptoms like irritation, watering, redness, etc. There has also been an increase in dry eyes and infections due to lowered immunity,” said Sanjay Dhawan, Head, Eye Department, Max Healthcare, Delhi & NCR.

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Printable version | Jan 22, 2020 1:07:14 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/watch-out-for-rising-air-pollution-in-city-warn-ophthalmologists/article25511305.ece

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