Study reveals irreversible link between air pollution and vision loss

Edited By: Vyomica Berry WION Web Team
New Delhi, India Published: Feb 15, 2021, 04.33 PM(IST)

A woman gets a checkup at the Eye Department of the Lens Hospital in the northern French city of Lens Photograph:( AFP )

Story highlights

Air pollution can cloud people's vision and in later life lead to macular degeneration, an age-related eye ailment that can lead to irreversible blindness

A new study published on Monday has shed light on the irreversible link between air pollution and vision loss.

Air pollution can cloud people's vision and in later life lead to macular degeneration, an age-related eye ailment that can lead to irreversible blindness.

Researchers believe that pollutants such as particulate matter, nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide are the biggest causes of health concerns.

The study reveals that people who were exposed to higher fine ambient particulate matter with an aerodynamic diametre of 2.5 micrometres had higher odds of self-reported age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

The United Kingdom Biobank conducted this cross-sectional study on participants aged 40–69 years.

According to the authors of the study, "Our findings add to the growing evidence of the damaging effects of ambient air pollution, even in the setting of relatively low exposure of ambient air pollution."

Over 90 per cent of the global population lives in places where air quality levels exceed the limits set for pollutants that pose health risks, as per estimates published by the  World Health Organization.

Previous research based on satellite data and ground observations had struggled to distinguish pollution caused by burning fossil fuels from other sources of harmful particulates, such as wildfires or dust.

The team from three British universities and Harvard University sought to overcome this problem by using a high-resolution model to give a clearer indication of which kinds of pollutants people were breathing in a particular area.

Research in 2017 had put the annual number of deaths from all outdoor airborne particulate matter — including dust and smoke from agricultural burns and wildfires — at 4.2 million.

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