Air Pollution + Our Eyes

Submitted by amandacarlson on Sun, 04/24/2022 - 20:26

Air pollution is a serious issue in our society, mainly caused by vehicle exhaust. Pollutants can cause lung irritation and infection. Some pollutants are so tiny that they can pass through the lung barrier and enter the bloodstream, which can lead to a higher risk of developing lung cancer, heart disease, or having a stroke.

Another symptom of air pollution exposure is moderate to severe eye irritation. The eye is a delicate organ that unlike most other organs, is exposed to the outside world. This means that the eye is easily affected by air pollution, because particles can directly enter the eye. The most irritating compounds are hydrocarbons, specifically C4 and C5 olefins. Additionally, it has been shown that airborne oxidants can negatively impact the eye because they cause reactions in the eye that acidify the tear film, irritating the eye. 

A study has found that the high exposure to the pollutants nitric oxide and carbon monoxide have been linked to an increase in the risk of developing age related macular degeneration, a disease in which the cells of the retina are damaged. The researchers in the study say that there is no need to wear eye protection in highly polluted areas because this damage to the eye is more likely due to pollutants that have entered the bloodstream and have traveled to the eye. 

The best way to decrease your risk is to avoid areas with high air pollution, such as a road during rush hour. 

Pollution

Sources:

https://time.com/5657617/air-pollution-eye-disease/

https://www.news-medical.net/health/Air-Pollution-and-Eye-Health.aspx

https://www.who.int/news-room/spotlight/how-air-pollution-is-destroying…

https://www.kcl.ac.uk/ImportedImages/Departments/publicengagement/Event…

 

Comments

Submitted by eeggers on Mon, 04/25/2022 - 12:55

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Interesting - especially the bloodstream part