Aug 23, 2019 08:16 AM EDT

Eye Disease
(Photo : Anemone123)

The effect of air pollution on the human body are often subtle yet it is holistic in nature. A new study released reveals that heavy exposure to air pollution caused by vehicles could raise the risk of developing a rare degenerative eye disease. It is the kind that steadily erodes the eyesight causing people to go blind in the long run, not to mention that they could be in a lot of pain. 

The eye problem is often referred to as age-related macular degeneration or the AMD. It is characterized by the slow yet steady destruction of the macula. It is the part of the retina that allows people to see things straight with a rather clear and sharp focus. The progression of the AMD may vary from one patient to another. 

Some patients may experience little problems with their vision for a long period of time before it gets worse. There are others whose conditions could quickly worsen. Although the disease does not quickly progress into blindness, it is one of those that cause irreversible damage to one’s vision. It particularly affects people who are over 50 years old. 

Like most degenerative diseases, the AMD can be caused by several different factors. Age is on top of the list of its contributing risks. However, the environment, as well as genetics, plays a huge role too. According to the authors of the study published in the Journal of Investigative Medicine, there has been very little to no studies that link air pollution to the development of AMD. Some studies show that there is a link between air pollution and some eye diseases like conjunctivitis and dry eyes. Smoking has also been considered to double the risks of developing AMD. 

The researchers of the study who are all based from China looked into the health data of the country and cross-referenced it with the reports on the air quality. The participants were divided into four groups based on how high their daily exposure is to air pollutants like NO1 and CO. 

“The study indicates that exposure to air pollution, particularly that produced by cars on the road, is a risk for people to develop AMD,” the authors wrote. 

Although there are still a few caveats about the study that needs to be settled, it overall shows how air pollution from cars and one’s exposure to it could bring about risks in developing AMD.

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