Do your eyes feel stinging, irritated or gritty when you’re in a polluted environment?
According to the WHO (World Health Organisation), 9 out of 10 people breathe polluted air. In large cities, pollution peaks involving high levels of fine particles and nitrogen have an impact on our eyes and mucous membranes. The main risk our eyes face from pollution is the development of dry eye.
Why is pollution a factor in developing dry eye?
If our eyes are constantly exposed to pollutants, there is a risk that the cornea and tears will deteriorate. Our tears play several key roles:
– ensuring quality of vision,
– lubricating the eye surface,
– nourishing the cornea,
– protecting our eyes from infections.
Our eyes experience numerous impacts from pollution, including irritation, conjunctivitis, dry eye, allergies, infection and visual discomfort.
If you live in a dry or polluted environment, take the right steps now to limit these risks.
What steps can I take to prevent these risks?
These are our top tips:
• To prevent the infections commonly associated with dry eye (conjunctivitis, infection of the cornea [keratitis], infection of the eyelids [blepharitis]), try not to put your fingers in your eyes or rub your eyelids. Wash your hands before touching your eyes
• Limit the use of contact lenses when pollution levels are high, to avoid infection, and use glasses instead
• Do not apply cosmetic products or make-up if your eyes are irritated
• Apply artificial tears to keep your eyes moist
• Blink your eyes often to renew your tears
• Wear glasses when outdoors to protect your eyes, which are more sensitive to wind and airborne matter
• Remember to cleanse your eyelids every evening
You will find more advice in our news item on “dry eye and preventive actions”
IF YOU ARE SUFFERING DUE TO DRY EYE, PLEASE SEE AN OPHTHALMOLOGIST.