Glaucoma is a progressive disease which damages the optic nerve. Known to have caused an irreversible vision loss, glaucoma is one of the major causes of blindness along with age-related macular degeneration, cataract and diabetic retinopathy.
Blindness affects many people, more than we might think. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are more than 3.3 million people in the USA legally blind or having a low vision. While according to the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB), there are more than 2 million people in the UK living with sight loss, and sadly, this number increases by 250 everyday. Globally, glaucoma affects more than 60 million people.
Air Pollution Increases The Risk for Glaucoma
A study by University College London (UCL) suggested that air pollution may significantly increase the risk for blindness due to glaucoma. Led by Professor Paul Foster of UCL Institute of Ophthalmology and Moorfields Eye Hospital, this study used the data gathered from 111,370 participants within a 4 year period. It was found that people who live in the polluted areas are 18% more likely to have glaucoma. In general, this finding supported the previous evidence that showed people who live in urban areas are 50% more likely to have glaucoma than those who live in rural areas.
How To Reduce The Risk for Glaucoma
In the past, glaucoma is thought to be age-related or genetic condition and not much can be done to prevent it from happening. Nevertheless, having routine medical checks and treatments have been proven to help slow down the progress. The new finding by UCL may serve as a catalyst for reducing the risk for glaucoma by improving the quality of air we breathe. The study showed that there are external factors that can trigger glaucoma, other than purely due to internal factors as it was thought before.
Even with relatively low air pollution across the UK, there are significant differences on the risk for glaucoma among urban and rural people. This is a wake up call for those who live in highly polluted cities around the globe, particularly in India, Pakistan and China. The government and people of those countries (and every country in the world) should do their best to reduce air pollution.
As an anti-ageing scientist who lives in London, I often wear sunglasses or clear glasses when I walk around the busy streets to help protect my eyes from the harmful particulate matters in the air. I know this may not do much, however it is better than do nothing.
With an average of 20,000 eye blinks per day, our eyes have to work very hard. In addition to that, the skin around the eyes are much thinner and more fragile compared to those on the other parts of face and body. Apart from the medical conditions, the area around the eyes is also prone to premature ageing. To help reduce the signs of ageing around the eyes, I use Bio-Collagen Eye & Lip Cream everyday. Formulated with Resveratrol, Niacinamide, Stabilised Vitamin E and Caffeine; this luxurious anti-ageing eye cream reduces the appearance of wrinkles, lines, dark circles and puffiness around the eyes.
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Henry Tianus is a multi-award-winning Anti-Ageing Scientist based in London, UK. Read >>>
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Scientific Sources: Air pollution linked to higher glaucoma risk, UCL News, 25 November 2019; Glaucoma, NHS UK; Common Eye Disorders, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Key information and statistics on sight loss in the UK, the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB).