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Air pollution

Could air pollution cause glaucoma?

Monday 02 December 2019

A recent study conducted by top facilities across the UK has found that polluted air, or atmospheric particulate matter (PM) may lead to an increased risk of glaucoma.

The study was conducted and evaluated by Moorfields Eye Hospital, University College London, Cardiff University and the University of Bristol.

Researchers took data from 116,000 participants listed on the UK Biobank. The biobank is effectively an organisation that is constantly examining the human body. They aim to improve prevention, diagnosis and treatment of illnesses aided by medical records collected by the NHS.

From those 116,000 patients, researchers were able to determine a “meaningful association between polluted air and glaucoma.

The study reads, ‘We have identified a novel association between greater exposure to ambient PM and increased odds of self-reported glaucoma. We suggest that this is a meaningful association based on our finding that inner retinal changes, as seen in glaucoma, are greater in those exposed to higher levels of PM.

Air pollution exposure is associated with increased oxidative stress, inflammation, and hypercoagulation. Exposure to polluted air has been associated with impaired cognitive function at all ages and increased risk of AD and other dementias in later life; this association is particularly notable with traffic-related pollutants.’

This statement is backed in part by the World Health Organization (WHO), who rank air pollution as one of the main causes to diseases across the World.

The WHO has been campaigning about air pollution for a considerable amount of time, spreading awareness about the issue. One of their biggest fears for civilisation is traffic pollution. Their website states:

“As well as being a leading source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, the transport sector is responsible for a large proportion of urban air pollution. An estimated 3.7 million premature deaths are attributed to ambient (outdoor) air pollution, based on WHO data from 2012. Overall, higher urban air pollution concentrations increase the risk for cardiovascular and respiratory disease, cancer and adverse birth outcomes, and also are associated with higher death rates.”


  1. IOVS.
  2. NHS.
  3. Who.



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