LONDON: A new horrific aspect of air pollution has emerged that can blind people, mainly the middle-aged and the elderly.
A long-term survey has found that tiny particles in polluted air gradually damage the eyes, leading to an irreversible condition called Macular Degeneration (MD). This condition can also lead to permanent blindness.
A team from various universities and scientific institutes in the United Kingdom and the United States have studied 116,000 people since 2006. These include people of different ages and regions. All were told that if a doctor diagnosed a macular degeneration in their eyes, they should report it immediately. However, during this time, the eyes of more than 52,000 people were also continuously examined. The thickness of their retina was increased, and their eyes were also examined.
It should be noted that macular degeneration is a disease of permanent blindness in the elderly in which thin veins of blood begin to flow on the back of the eyes and thin lumps of fat and protein begin to accumulate in them.
The result of this patient study was that people who had lived in air-polluted areas for a long time reported that they had contracted MD. Thus, research on more than 100,000 people has shown that airborne particles gradually reduce oxygen penetration into the eyes.
Then there are the PM2.5 (two and a half micrometer thin) particles in the atmosphere of dust, smoke, and haze. On the one hand, they are affecting the eyes. On the other hand, they are also affecting the lungs and heart through the respiratory tract.
However, experts say that there is still time for us to control air pollution from our cities and countries so that these health problems can be significantly reduced.