Smog Affecting Your Delicate Organ - The Eye

Kunal Sharma, Senior Optometrist, Vision ExpressVision Express India is a part of Grand Vision - Europe who have over 4000 optical stores globally and bring-in best in class eye care expertise and eye wear to the world.

Smog is a vicious mixture of smoke and fog that people living in cities or industrial areas get exposed to. The harmful mix of pollution and gases affects the human body. Compromised air quality contains carbon monoxide and coarse dust particles that are suspended in the air and likely to be consumed by the unsuspecting human body. It causes harm not only to your lungs and skin as commonly perceived, but also to other delicate organs, like the eye.

Smog causes temporary blurriness and irritation. In more severely smoggy areas,after a trip outside, burning sensation coupled with redness is also common. Eye infections should never be ignored especially when you are living in smog polluted area. Below is some helpful information:

Exposure to smog very often can lead to:
Temporary hindrance in everyday activities
We use our eyes for practically everything. Smog not only reduces our normal visibility but the irritation of the eyes also hampers our regular activities. You cannot read clearly or watch television. If outside home then everything could look blurry that hinders commute or outdoor chores.

Exposure to infections
Inhaling air in a smog heavy locality, affects the body's defences. Thus, you
may fall prey to the common eye diseases like conjunctivitis,continuous flow of tears and ropey discharges.Younger children are easily prone to such diseases especially the school going children.

Smog not only reduces our normal visibility but the irritation of the eyes also hampers our regular activities.

Corneal surface damage
Continuous contact with smog, if you are outside leads to dryness of the eyes. It stops the natural tear secretion that would keep your eyes moist. Lack of moisture then leads to dryness that causes a vision problem. The cornea is likely to get damaged with prolonged exposure that would lead to further complications of the eye.

To begin with it is necessary to understand that your eyes are getting affected due to the smog. Accept the weather conditions and the fact that you could fall victim to it. Follow the below to fight the smog and protect your eyes.

1) Wash your hands and do not rub your eyes with exposed /unclean hands, just the advice you would give children.

2) Drinking water frequently is a big preventive measure. Staying hydrated automatically rids you from a lot of internal health issues along with aiding healthy eyesight.

3) If possible stay inside during the worst smog hours. If not, wear eye wear like sunglasses, eye glasses, swimming goggles so that there is no chance of air to enter your eyes. If in a car, keep your windows rolled up at all times.

4) Also keeping a tab of the weather forecast is better before you step outside home.

5) Morning walks and strenuous outdoor exercises can be avoided until the smog comes under control. But exercise is important so try to do it indoors or when the smog is at its highest level.

6) Lots of green, orange and yellow coloured vegetables are good for your eyes. Try to increase their intake.

7) Keep your doors and windows closed during the smog peak hours. Stay indoors if possible and keep checking the air quality index.

However, if none of these work, and you think that you need medical attention, visit an ophthalmologist immediately.