Tips to Protect Your Eyes From Pollution

eye care in air pollution

With technological advancements and increased industrialization in the 21st century, pollution levels have also increased. The alarming rise in environmental pollution poses a great threat to our health, especially to our eyes. Our eyes are exposed to increased air pollution and which has had a detrimental effect on our eye health.

Air pollution is known to negatively impact virtually all of our organs, including the lungs, heart and bones. Long-term exposure to air pollution is also eroding eye health and vision in general. If exposed on a regular basis, air pollution can cause dry eye syndrome, watering and burning sensations, blurred vision and even glaucoma, the effects of which could be irreversible. Naturally, these incidents are more likely to occur in bustling cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Ulaanbaatar, Jakarta and Hanoi due to having large amounts of emissions in a concentrated area.

The eyes are a precious asset of the human body. Therefore, our eyes need special protection from pollutants. In this article, we will be discussing the various ways to protect our eyes from pollution and other eye care tips.

Different Pollutants That Affect Our Eyes

Air pollution is among the top five risk factors for causing a plethora of eye disease. Our eyes are very sensitive to even minimal dirt and foreign particles suspended in the air. Air pollutants can act as irritants and trigger an inflammatory response of our eyes. Polluted air and smog contain high levels of harmful gases like nitric oxide, sulphur, and nitrogen dioxide that leads to eye disease. Automobiles (incomplete combustion of fuel), factories (chemical fumes), crop and agricultural waste burning, and air-conditioners (CFCs) are the major source of air pollution and may lead to the formation of smog. Smog is a combination of fog and smoke forming a dense layer of air close to the ground. It is formed when there is a reaction between the pollutant gases in the lower atmosphere and sunlight.

Other air pollutants include arsenic, asbestos, benzene, lead, and dioxin.

Various Eye Conditions

The current Air Quality Index falls under the hazardous category. Therefore, it can cause various eye conditions with symptoms like-

Burning Eyes

Redness accompanied by swelling

Dry eyes

Excessive watering


Difficulty in vision

Allergic reaction

Sore Eyes


Air pollution even makes you vulnerable to infectious diseases and corneal damage. Chemical exposure due to air pollution can lead to chemical conjunctivitis. Pollutants can also cause ocular surface irritation by altering the lacrimal pH. Ultraviolet exposure and thermal pollution can also increase the risk of injury and infection to various parts of the eyes.

Certain research studies have revealed that the level of air pollution in Delhi is as detrimental as smoking 40 cigarettes per day.

Ways to protect your eyes from the pollution

Use Protective Gear

The best way to protect your eyes from pollution is to avoid exposure. The best way is to stay indoors as much as possible on the days or certain times of day when air pollution is at its peak. But it is not always possible to stay indoors. Therefore, use eyeglasses. Wearing protective eyeglasses reduces the risk of exposure to pollutants and toxic gases. Some protective glasses come with special coatings to protect your eyes from harmful UV rays and blue rays from digital devices.

Maintain Hygiene by Washing Your Hands and Eyes

Avoid touching your eyes as much as possible. Even if you do ensure washing your hands with soap and water before doing so. This reduces the chances of contamination. Also, in a certain situation if your eyes feel tired or irritated wash them with clean water.

Keep Yourself Hydrated

Hydration is a major key to prevent eye problems due to pollution. Our tear film helps to continuously remove dirt and foreign body from your eyes, thus protecting them. Keeping yourself hydrated ensures the formation of tear film more efficiently. Additionally, keeping yourself hydrated avoids conditions such as dry eye and irritation. It is important to consume a minimum of 3-4 litres of water every day to prevent dry eyes.

Do Not Rub Your Eyes

In many cases, we feel tempted to rub our eyes. Please stop. The sensation of irritation due to exposure to pollutants compels us to rub our eyes. However, doing so can worsen the condition. Rubbing your eyes can increase the irritation and even lead to a burning sensation. Also, rubbing of eyes with contaminated hands will expose your eyes to the risk of infection. Instead, wash your eyes with clean hands and cold water. This will help reduce the symptoms.

Follow a Healthy Diet

Diet plays a major role in maintaining good eye health and a stronger immune system. Therefore, it is imperative that you include healthy foods in your diet that enhances your body’s defence mechanism. Foods containing omega-3-fatty acids such as fish, avocado, walnuts should be a part of your diet. Other items should include berries, green leafy vegetables, carrot, and fruits. These foods are immunomodulatory and anti-inflammatory in nature. It enhances our immune system and reduces the chances of inflammation.

Use Eye Drops

Eye drops help to keep your eyes hydrated and lubricated. Eye drops help our corneal layer to hold moisture protect our eyes from microbes and pollutants. Lubricating your eyes twice or thrice daily helps in the relaxation of the eye muscles. However, if you already have an underlying condition you need to consult an ophthalmologist before using any eye drop.

Cold Compress

Cold compress works great for the relaxation of inflammation. Cold compress soothes irritation and burning sensation.  A cool compression with a clean piece of cloth dipped in cold water is helpful for relieving itchiness and irritation. Homemade icepacks with ice wrapped in a piece of clean cloth with microfiber are also useful for reducing the burning sensation caused due to air pollution.

Limit Screen Time

Reducing screen time can help to reduce eye strain and the impact on your eyes due to air pollution. Digital devices emit blue light which may further worsen eye problems caused by air pollution. Taking short breaks for 10-15 minutes every 3 hours prevents eye strain.

Use an Indoor Air Purifier

Using indoor air purifiers helps to improve the air quality inside your house, helping your eyes recover from the outdoor exposure and the contaminants. Clean air will help your eyes relax and let the natural defence mechanism relax thus reducing irritation and eye strain.

Go for Regular Checkups

Try to adhere to your eye check-up routine diligently. This will help to detect any kind of anomaly or minor symptoms helping to treat the condition at an early stage. This will ensure fair chances of recovery and reduced risk of complications. Also, regular checkup helps you to understand the overall health status of your eyes and reduces the chances of self-medication.

Special Precautions for Using Contact Lens

In case of redness or irritation limit or avoid the use of a contact lens, unless otherwise prescribed by your ophthalmologist to do so. In case you need to use a contact lens, you can wear zero power protective glasses to limit exposure to the pollutants. Take proper care while storing your contact lenses. Change your lens solution every time post usage. Improper storage of contact lens and excessive exposure to pollution can cause an eye infection. In case you are feeling any discomfort while wearing the contact lens, remove them immediately, and use eye drops. Visit your ophthalmologist in case the symptoms persist or worsen.

Special Precautions for Using Eye Makeup

Using eye makeup in an already inflamed eye can worsen the symptoms. The pigments in the eye make can act as irritants and add to your discomfort. Go for hypo-allergic eye makeup. Also, before going to bed remove the eye make properly using an eye-makeup remover. If not cleaned properly left-over eye makeup might trigger an allergic reaction.

Follow an Eye-Care Routine

Pamper your eyes with a rejuvenating eye-care regime. Applying an eye mask relaxes and rejuvenates your eyes. Applying an eye mask once a week benefits our delicate eyes and improves blood circulation of the surrounding skin.  Benefits of using an eye mask include remove puffiness, diminish dark circles, reduce fatigue, moisturizes the skin, helps in skin tightening, relaxes and energizes your eyes.

The eyes are special delicate organs of our body. After battling with hazardous levels of pollution, they need special care. To start with maintain good hygiene and avoid skipping routine eye checkup appointments. At Eye Mantra Super-Speciality hospital all types of eye conditions are treated with the right approach. Our experts perform a comprehensive eye examination to understand the root cause of any eye problem.

Taking optimal care of our vision is of utmost importance. There taking precautionary measures to minimize exposure to pollution is imperative. Before stepping out of your house check the air quality index and take necessary precautions. Travel to highly polluted areas only if necessary. Close your car windows while travelling. Seek medical attention if any allergic reaction occurs. Pollution has proven to be a huge menace, affecting the overall health of many individuals. Proper and timely eye care can save you from a plethora of eye ailments. Practice eye exercises to boost your eye strength and refresh your eyesight.   


For consulting him for your difficulties, please visit Eyemantra.

To have complete eye care from this team of expert ophthalmologists, visit Eyemantra. They will explain with clarity, the details about your eyes.

Call 9711115191 now to Book your Appointment. Or simply drop a mail at [email protected].

We offer services like cataract surgery, Retina surgerySpec Removal, and many more.

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