Air pollution linked to 8% higher risk of irreversible sight loss
Scientists from University College London (UCL) analysed more than 115,000 people over 15 years.
Results reveal the participants who were exposed to the highest levels of fine particulate matter (PM) were 8% more likely to develop age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
Released by vehicle emissions, PM floats unseen in the atmosphere. When smaller than 2.5μm (PM2.5), 400th of a millimetre, the particles can become lodged in the lungs.
Although unclear, air pollution may trigger a form of internal stress or inflammation that leads to the vision disorder.
The scientists therefore analysed participants of the UK Biobank study, aged 40 to 69, who had no vision problems at the start of the research in 2006.
Over 15 years, the participants reported any AMD diagnosis.
More than 50,000 of the participants also had the thickness and number of their retina light receptors assessed between 2009 and 2012, with these measurements being AMD indictors. ■