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An increase in the areas of dry land, air pollution and increased exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation can potentially damage the eyes.
The cornea, eyelid, sclera and lens have direct exposure to the environment. Increasing temperatures and shifting atmospheric circulation patterns are pushing dry air into regions that experienced more rains. Drier air could possibly result in more people suffering from dry eye symptoms. While there is no evidence that drier conditions cause dry eye but they can speed up the symptoms in those who are susceptible to dry eye.
Air pollution has been shown to play a role in eye disease. Exposure to wood or charcoal cooking fires is common in many developing countries. It seems to accelerate the scarring caused by trachoma. Recurrent infections over the years can cause scarring inside the eyelids, causing the eyelashes to turn inward and brush against the cornea. This could subsequently lead to impaired vision.
Depletion of the ozone layer can increase the levels of UV light exposure, a risk factor for cortical cataract. Chronic exposure to these damaging rays can alter the arrangement of proteins in the lens of the eye or damage lens epithelium, thus making the lens cloudy.
You may wear a hat to reduce UV exposure by about 30%. Sunglasses or simple plastic lenses that offer full UV protection, can potentially limit the exposure by nearly 100% and should be used judiciously.
Entire community should take note of the severe damage that can be caused to the eyes. It becomes all the more important to note these precautions as Indians tend to be vitamin D-deficient.