It’s been a while since Singapore has experienced a massive dose of Haze. As air quality worsens (as of Sep 14 2019) reported by the weatherman, here’s an article we wrote previously to help everyone combat the ill effects of the dreaded Haze.
What is Haze?
Haze comprises of visible large particulate matter ( PM10) and smaller particulate matter (PM2.5). There are also invisible harmful gases such as Sulphur dioxide, carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide and ozone. They are produced during burning of vegetation and peat forest.
image source: i.telegraph.co.uk
How can Haze affect us?
Apart from the unpleasant smell and sight of haze, it can affect all our surfaces including eyes, nose, throat, lungs and skin. The particulate matters and harmful gases can irritate these surfaces and result in inflammation, increase mucus production and worsening existing allergic conjunctivitis, sinusitis, asthma, chronic obstructive lung diseases, heart diseases and eczema.
image source: vulcanpost.com
Haze and the eyes
The haze can irritate the eyes surfaces resulting in itch, swelling, redness and tearing with eye discharges. Those with existing dry eyes and allergic conjunctivitis will be more affected by the haze. Contact lenses wearer are also more likely to be affected as they usually have lower tears production when wearing contact lenses.
How do we protect our eyes against haze?
Avoid staying outdoors for prolong periods.
Wear protective eye wear such as wrap around sun glasses to limit air flow in front of the eyes
Use lubricant eye drops as frequent as hourly to 3 hourly to flush and keep the ocular surfaces moist and clean.
Those are suffering from allergic conjunctivitis can use antihistamines eyedrops such as patanol, pataday, relestat etc to reduce itch. Avoid rubbing the eyes as it will just worsen the condition. For more severe cases, topical steroids eye drops may be needed to reduce the inflammation. These eyedrops are not available over the counter or at pharmacies without prescription.
If eye symptoms persist or worsen, do consult us or your eye doctors for further management
Dr Lim Wee Kiak