Air Pollution is creating havoc in our lives and affects each and every person with no exceptions.

There are multiple sources of air pollution that produce a myriad kinds of particles and molecules that may have a deleterious effect on  health of a living being, including visual function.

  • Thermal power plants

Produce fly ash that has aggregates of un burnt, partially burnt carbon, metal ions (iron, chromium, nickel); gases like SO2, NOx, CO2 and CO etc at high temperatures.  The ash cloud quickly condenses on reaching cooler atmospheric layers and forms aggregates with water droplets as well.  The ash cloud descends due to atmospheric inversion in winters and stays close to the lower strata in areas of low air current.

  • Vehicular Traffic

Diesel as well as petrol exhausts also contain CO2, CO, NOx along with carbon and metal ions.  Importantly the vehicular movement on roads raises dust in large quantities especially fast moving vehicles.  Kutcha roads, pits and dirt along the sidewalks add to the amount of dust raised.  Eddy currents created by random movement of vehicles displace them all around in a large area.

  • Construction Sites

Generate complex particle aggregates that contain CaCO3, MgCO3, Ca(OH)2, CaO2, silica etc; wood shavings; bitumen; paint solvents  to name a few.  All these are dispersed far and wide during the process of transportation, mixing, compaction, chiselling, hammering, cutting, grinding, polishing and so on.

  • Burning of crop residues and garbage dumps is self explanatory and well understood.

Eyes face the brunt of all this as well. Eyes can suffer oxidative damage, toxic molecular injuries as well as physical abrasion.  The delicate moist mucous membrane of the eye gets irritated due to physical presence of particulate matter, toxic effect of solvents, gases and other chemicals. Redness, watering, burning sensation, itching, smarting are some of the symptoms that disturb the visual function.

Thing to do are:

  • Drive cars with air con running and window panes up. Clean the condenser pipes every morning with a water jet.  Close the vent to disallow atmospheric air to come in.  Exchange air only on reaching home.
  • Ride two wheelers with full face helmets and protective glasses
  • Protective glasses and shades to be used outdoors
  • Lubricate eyes frequently with eye drops that are preferably preservative free.  As often as possible. May choose to use a gel preparation before sleeping.
  • Rinse eyes in running, clean water (may be filter) every morning, after reaching home from work/school/college and before going off to sleep.  Be gentle and do not rinse vigorously or too often as to wash away protective mucous layer!
  • Cold compresses are a big relief.  Use a cool patch, cucumber slices or ice cubes in a polythene pouch.  Do not use ice cubes in a cloth or directly as hypotonic water will increase swelling and watering.
  • Do not use decongestant eye formulation without medical supervision.  Consult your doctor.

Let us all pledge to contain pollution!  Every small effort matters and everyone needs to participate urgently in the matter!