Here’s Why The Haze is Bad For Your Throat, Eye and Skin

Doctors answer questions about how haze affects your health.

Whenever the haze rolls around, you might find yourself sniffing or tearing more than usual. Sometimes, you might even start coughing, get a sore throat, and develop skin rashes. Doctors from respective fields shed light on how exactly the haze affects your throat, eyes and skin.

Kuala Lumpur is shrouded in a thick blanket of haze August 1, 2019. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri

Photo credit: Ahmad Zamzahuri, Malay Mail

Read: Ease The Effects of Haze On Your Eyes and Throat With These Foods

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Haze and your eyes

Dr Daphne Han, ophthalmologist at Mount Elizabeth Hospital, explains how the haze affects your eyes. 

Why does the haze cause my eyes to sting and tear? 

The tiny particulate matter – together with the polluting gases like sulphur dioxide and carbon monoxide in the atmosphere – come into contact with and irritate the outer layers of the eyes, which are called the conjunctiva. This causes an allergic reaction that gives rise to dilated conjunctiva blood vessels and makes the eyes look pink.

The eye may also become drier, and you may experience a sandy or gritty feeling in your eyes from both the dryness and the physical contact with the particulate matter and gases. If you also experience tearing or become extremely sensitive to light, it may point to a more serious condition like dry eyes or allergies.

Can long-term exposure to the haze cause permanent damage to my eyes?

In general, symptoms of eye irritation from long-term exposure to pollutants are not permanent, and stop once there’s no more exposure to the haze. In some rare cases, eyes may suffer from scarring if there’s been an exceptionally severe allergic reaction.

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