Long-term exposure to air pollution may be an important environmental risk factor for myopia (near/short sightedness) in the elderly

In October 2019 researchers from China and the USA published the results of their study to assess the effect of air pollution on the risk of myopia (near/short sightedness) with advancing age. A total of 33,626 adults, aged 50 years and over, in six developing countries were involved in the study. Information was collected via a survey. Myopia was identified based on questions related to symptoms of myopia, whilst the annual concentrations of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and ozone were estimated using satellite data. Results showed J-shaped associations between the two pollutants and myopia, with 12 μg/m3 being the threshold concentration for fine particulate matter and 54 μg/m3 for ozone. The researchers therefore concluded that long-term exposures to fine particulate matter and ozone may be important environmental risk factors of myopia in the elderly, and suggested that more effort should be made to reduce airborne fine particulate matter and ozone levels to protect vision health.

Ruan Z et al. Ambient Fine Particulate Matter and Ozone Higher Than Certain Thresholds Associated With Myopia in the Elderly Aged 50 Years and Above. Environ Res. 2019 Oct;177:108581.

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