Pollution Causing Dry, Itchy Eyes? Ophthalmologist on How to Protect Them

Is the toxic air causing your eyes to burn and itch? Know how you can combat it from an ophthalmologist.

2 min read
Hindi Female

Smog season is back, and it's taking a toll on all aspects of your health. On top of breathing issues, the toxic air can also cause dry eyes, itchiness and other eye problems.

It's no surprise, considering eyes are the most sensitive part of the face.

How can you care for your eyes and protect them during pollution season?FIT asks Dr Priyanka Singh, Consultant and Eye Surgeon at Neytra Eye Centre in New Delhi.


How does air pollution affect your eyes?

Pollution affects your eye health by causing watery eyes, itching and irritation in the eyes, redness, and of course, eye pain.

  • Allergic conjunctivitis: Allergic conjunctivitis occurs when your becomes swollen or inflamed due to a reaction to pollen, dust mites, or any allergy-causing substances.

  • Worsening of dry eyes: When particles in air pollution, dust, and smoke enter your eyes and lodge themselves there, it risks the tearing of a moist layer of tears that coat your eyes. This makes your eyes feel dry and not lubricated.

Does pollution affect my screen-time tolerance?

It could reduce people's screen time tolerance due to increased strain, and worsen any pre-existing allergy due to heightened sensitivity due to pollution, the doctor explained.

Chronic rubbing of the eyes can cause infection, styes, and eyelid swelling.

What is causing the burn and dry eyes during pollution season?

Dust particles from hazardous pollutants including carbon monoxide, nitric oxide, sulphur and nitrogen dioxide in the air directly affect your eyesight.

What are some basic precautions I can take?

  • Use N95 masks every time you step out.

  • For eyes, goggles, shades – especially if you are riding a two-wheeler

  • Maintain hand hygiene and wash your hands regularly

  • Avoid touching or rubbing of eyes

  • Avoid using over the counter medicines in your eyes, except prescribed lubricants.

What should I do if I experience irritation in my eyes?

  • Wash your eyes with cold water

  • Apply a cold pack

  • Do not self-medicate, but visit the nearest ophthalmologist

  • If you have been prescribed eye drops in the past, consider using them.

  • Avoid eye makeup and contact lenses when your eyes are infected.

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Topics:  Air Pollution   Eyes 

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