Air pollutants increase the risk of irreversible sight loss 

Researchers from University College in London (UCL) found in its latest study that even low levels of exposure to air pollutants can affect the risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). AMD is the main cause of people developing irreversible blindness. This involves the loss of central vision, which is mainly needed for reading or recognizing faces. The study found that people living in areas with high levels of air pollutants are at least 8% more likely to develop the disease.
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For the research, a total of 115,954 people aged 40-69  who had participated in the UK Biobank were studied. The UK Biobank is a large study of half a million people and focuses on medical diagnoses and biological measurements. Measurements and interviews were used to identify which of the participants had macular degeneration and the results were then compared to the number of air pollutants in each of the people’s homes. “People who live in a more air polluted area report macular degeneration more frequently” said Paul Foster, a professor of glaucoma studies and ophthalmic epidemiology at UCL.

There are 200 million people worldwide with AMD, which is the leading cause of irreversible blindness. In the UK alone, about 5% of people over 65 have the disease. Scientists say that the eyes are particularly susceptible to damage due to a particularly high blood flow, which makes them strongly affected by tiny particles and pollutants in the air that are inhaled and thus enter the bloodstream. Damaging changes to the retina can also be one of the negative consequences.

“There is an enormously high flow of blood [to the retina] and we think that as a consequence of that the distribution of pollutants is greater to the eye than to other places,” said Prof Paul Foster, at University College London, UK, and who was part of the study team. “Proportionately, air pollutants are going to become a bigger risk factor as other risk factors are brought under control.”

Other consequences of air pollutants

Besides AMD, there are many other diseases associated with air pollutants. The World Health Organization reported that 90% of the world’s population lives in polluted air.

However, it is important that people are not deterred by this study about leaving their homes or becoming too restricted. But they should use this study to think about their lifestyle choices and, for example, opt for an electric car instead of a diesel one when they next buy a car.

Even though the data relates to outdoor air pollutants, researchers additionally say that indoor air pollution is also of great importance. “We suspect there are many more relevant processes going on inside the house,” he said. “Anything that produces smoke is probably responsible for some of the risk.” Especially during phases when people spend a lot of time at home, it’s even more important to keep the air pollutants away from home.

Solution against air pollutants

High air quality in one’s own home not only protects one’s health but also increases productivity and the ability to concentrate. This is especially important in the home office, where people have to manage to keep a clear head between their daily routine at home and their job. With clinically clean air delivered to them by OneLife X, they are perfectly prepared. In addition, it offers the advantage of being absolutely silent and therefore not disturbing at any time.