New Delhi: Air pollution in cities is emerging as the major reason behind the rise in eye allergies and conjunctivitis in people of all ages, doctors say.
They say that the problem was serious, because if conjunctivitis and allergies are not treated in time they can lead to cornea problems affecting vision.
"Almost all age groups are being affected by air pollution. Majority of patients are young children, middle aged and senior citizens. Air pollution affects them badly and results in eye irritation and sometimes in redness, and watery eyes," said Kamal B. Kapur, an opthalmologist at city-based Sharp Sight Centre.
Kapur said the major reasons behind allergic conjunctivitis were substances like pollen or mold spores or chemical substances in the air.
According to doctors, the high levels of pollutants like nitric oxide, nitrogen dioxide and sulphur dioxide in the air make the tear film of the eyes more acidic.
Tears are a mixture of water, fatty oil, proteins, and bacteria fighting substances that maintain the lubrication of eyes.
Talking about the ways to prevent eye allergies, eye care expert Samir Sud said: "One should not rub eyes directly even if fine particulates enter, rather wash eyes with water. After that they should apply a cool compress to help reduce inflammation."
"Whenever there is direct contact with the allergen, an allergic reaction happens in the eye. Mostly this happens when there is dryness in the air. Once the infection is detected, chances are that the person will get it again and again," said Sud.
According to a recent study, over 30,000 people in Delhi were detected with cornea infection last year caused by the deteriorating air quality and increasing particulates.
"In more troublesome cases, you will need to see an eye doctor who might recommend oral antihistamines or anti-inflammatory eye drops or in severe cases, steroid eye drops may be prescribed to get relief," Sud added.