The Impact of Air Pollution on Eye Health (And Why Think Air Has Never Been So Important)

A large UK study has linked air pollution to eye health – and a higher risk of irreversible sight loss.

Yes, you read that right.

The study shows that even small rises in pollution can increase the risk of irreversible sight loss from age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

We already know that poor air quality has a negative impact on almost every organ in the body. But this study is the first to dive into the impact of air pollution on eye health.

As our head of R&D – and professor emeritus – Paul Lewis puts it:

“In terms of its impact on health, air pollution is traditionally associated with respiratory and heart conditions. It’s also known to shorten the life of some people with these conditions.

“But this new study shows that air pollution – especially fine particles like PM2.5 – can impact our health and wellbeing in ways perhaps we as scientists wouldn’t have believed a few years ago.”

The air pollution problem is real.

Both the World Health Organisation and the UK Government tout air pollution as the largest environmental health risk we face today.

Air pollution causes as many as 24,000 premature deaths each year in the UK. Poor air quality is also linked to heart and lung disease, low birth weight, and children’s lung development.

There’s also increasing evidence to suggest that poor air quality also contributes to mental health issues and overall wellbeing.

“The impact is not just physical,” says Paul.

“There is growing evidence pointing to the negative effects of air pollution on our mental wellbeing.

“This highlights the importance of having real data available everywhere. But this can only be achieved by having more low-cost air quality monitors across the country.”

And this is what we’re hoping to achieve with Think Air.

Our very own air quality sensor network is a literal breath of fresh air. It’s already live across many parts of Wales. It’s also on track to being the largest live air sensor network in the country.

As evidence continues to reveal the negative impacts of air pollution on our health and wellbeing, Think Air has never been so important.

You can find out more about Think Air and our commitment to better air quality here.

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