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Air Pollution Linked To Increased Risk Of Irreversible Vision Loss: Study

The researchers analysed participants aged 40-69 with no eye problems at the start of this study in 2006 and concluded that air pollution has damaging effects on eyes

Air Pollution Linked To Increased Risk Of Irreversible Vision Loss: Study
Highlights
  • Air pollution increases the risk of Age-related Macular Degradation: Study
  • High PM2.5 exposure is associated with high health risk: Experts
  • Experts analysed over 1.1 lakh people for the study

London: Air pollution is associated with an increased risk of progressive and irreversible sight loss, known as age related macular degeneration (AMD), according to a long-term study that could pave the way for new treatment options for the disorder. The researchers, including those from the University College London, UK, noted that AMD is the leading cause of irreversible blindness among the over 50s in high-income countries, with the numbers of those affected projected to reach 300 million by 2040.

Also Read: Here Is How You Can Protect Your Health Against Air Pollution And COVID-19

Known risk factors include older age, smoking, and genetic make-up, they said. Given that ambient air pollution is associated with heightened risks of heart and respiratory diseases, the study, published in the British Journal of Ophthalmology, analysed if it might also be associated with a heightened risk of AMD.

The researchers drew on data from 115,954 UK Biobank (UKBB) study participants aged 40-69 with no eye problems at the start of this study in 2006. Measures of ambient air pollution included those for particulate matter (PM2.5), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), and nitrogen oxides (NOx). Of the total number of study participants, 1,286 were diagnosed with AMD, according to the researchers.

Among the 52,602 people whose eyes had been assessed, 75 per cent of those with a clinical diagnosis of AMD had signs of AMD on retinal imaging compared to only 12 per cent of those without a clinical diagnosis of AMD, they said.

Also Read: Air Pollution Linked To Increased Risk Of Pregnancy Loss In India: Lancet Study

Analysis of the data showed that higher fine particulate matter (PM2.5 ) exposure was associated with a higher (8 per cent) risk of AMD, while all other pollutants, except coarse particulate matter, were associated with changes in retinal structure.

The researchers noted that it is an observational study, and as such, can’t establish cause., adding the findings, however, echo those found elsewhere in the world. They suggest ambient air pollution could plausibly be associated with AMD through oxidative stress or inflammation.

Overall, our findings suggest that ambient air pollution, especially fine particulate matter or those of combustion-related particles, may affect AMD risk, the researchers noted.

Also Read: Poor Air Quality May Affect Recovered COVID-19 Patients: Experts

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (WaterSanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene

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