The toxic Delhi air has given itchy eyes to many in the National Capital Region. There is this burning sensation which the doctors say frequent washing of hands and avoiding rubbing of eyes might help.
What might be causing that burn? According to health experts, this is mainly due to the hazardous pollutants including nitric oxide, sulphur and nitrogen dioxide in the air, an outcome of construction work and carbon emission.
Living within the confines of a proverbial gas chamber, people have complained of watery eyes, burning sensation, discomfort, sore eyes, redness, swelling and an itching sensation, besides respiratory problems.
Delhi turned into an apocalyptic city the very day after Diwali, as lack of breeze trapped the pollutants from firecrackers and stubble burning in neighbouring states added to the woes.
According to Safar India, the overall air quality index (AQI) in Delhi has hit 381, much below the 600 plus levels in the last few days, when sun completely was shunted out by the heavy smog cover.
"While air pollution has taken a toll on the overall health of individuals, many people are experiencing burning sensation in the eyes too. This is being mainly caused by the presence of pollutants in the air consisting of nitric oxide, sulphur and nitrogen dioxide present in the air leading to irritation in the eyes," said Ranjana Mithal, Senior Consultant Ophthalmology, Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals in New Delhi.
Mithal added that once, the pollution settles down, we will get relief from the burning sensation.
"Drink lots of water. Staying hydrated is essential for aiding inadequate tear formation. It becomes all the more essential when external factors like smog increase your proneness to dry eyes. Eight to ten glasses of water should suffice," Mithal suggested.
Refrain from stepping out during peak smog hours. It's best to stay indoors during this time. Consume food rich in Vitamin A as it plays an important role, the doctor said.
Satya Karna, Associate Director, Department of Ophthalmology, Jaypee Hospital in Noida told IANS: "It is advisable not to go out without protection for the eyes such as sunglasses, keep washing eyes with clean, cool water and avoid wearing contact lenses. Put eye drops as per a doctor's prescription, not drops bought over the counter, or given by chemists or ayurvedic."
The National Green Tribunal on Tuesday and the Supreme Court on Monday pulled up the Delhi government and the Centre over the alarming situation of pollution and deteriorating Air Quality Index (AQI) in the national capital.
Sonia Bhalla, Senior Consultant, Ophthalmology at Fortis Memorial Research Institute in Gurugram said that air pollution adversely affects the eyes.
"Eating Omega 3 fatty acids found in fish besides green leafy vegetables, carrots, spinach, almonds, walnuts, berries are extremely good for the eyes.
"Do not overexert your eyes by indulging in excessive screen time," Bhalla said.
"Twice a day (after getting a recommendation from your ophthalmologist) use eye drops to flush out the irritants. If there is continuous discomfort go to your doctor immediately," Bhalla concluded.
(Bharat Upadhyay can be reached at bharat.u@ians)