Eye problems rise as air pollution dips to severe

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Eye problems rise as air pollution dips to severe

Wednesday, 13 November 2019 | Staff Reporter | NEW DELHI

As air pollution continues to be in severe category, hospitals in the national Capital have witnessed a surge in number of patients suffering from eye related problems like allergies, itching in eyes.

Dr Rajesh Sinha, Professor of Ophthalmology, AIIMS said "The rising pollution in Delhi is a great concern for eyes. Due to increasing pollution, there is rise in the incidence of dry eye and ocular allergy. This is not just causing discomfort in vision but also aggravating dryness and allergies. There could be huge damage if care is not taken immediately.”

Dr Ikeda Lal, Opthalmologist at Delhi Eye Centre and Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, New Delhi said," We are observing an increase in number of patients coming to us with complains of redness, itching, watering in the eyes. Patients with pre-existing dry eyes are experiencing exacerbation due to high pollution. We are observing almost increase of 30-35 per cent in number of patients coming to us with eye related problems. Pollutants and dust in the air is one of the major reasons for causing related problems"

 After Delhi's air quality worsened again and slipped into the 'severe' category on Tuesday, making it difficult for residents specially children and elderly to breathe.  Many of collage going students complained about itching in their eyes and headache due to pollution.

Minakshi Sachdeva, a second year student of  Delhi University said that she visited doctor after her eye turned red. "I left collage early as my eyes start itching. I started feeling uncomfortable and even vomit. Soon after I left collage and reached home," she said. There are many like Sachdeva who has decided not to attend lectures until the situation improve.

"My parent has banned outdoor activity. I am doing collage project sitting home and waiting to get the situation improved," Vinit Aggarwal, a second year DU student said. 

On Monday, most of the 37 air quality monitoring stations in Delhi recorded air quality in the 'severe' category. With the winter setting in, a dip in the minimum temperature makes the air cold and heavy leading to accumulation of pollutants close to the ground.

Dr Ikeda further said," People with complains of itching in the eyes are likely to suffer from allergic eye disease. Patients with pre-existing dry eyes may experience excessive dryness, irritation and burning due to ocular surface inflammation.

In case of any eye related problems, consulting an ophthalmologist is recommended and exposure to polluted air should be minimized".

 Doctors advised people to avoid going out without mask to deal with allergy caused due to pollution. They suggest not rubbing eyes and visit doctor if it continues itching, keep washing eyes with clean water. They also said that cold compresses help in relieving mild itching.

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