The link between cooking with coal and wood and increased risk of major eye diseases revealed following a study involving almost half a million people undertaken in China.
The findings of the study is published in PLOS Medicine.
By statistics, about half of the world’s population is exposed to household air pollution, including cooking with polluting solid fuels such as wood and coal. Meanwhile, previous studies report the possibility of link between cooking with solid fuels and increased cataract in women. However, it is unclear if the use of pollutant fuels is associated with other key eye diseases such as keratitis, conjunctivitis, and glaucoma.
A research team at the Nuffield Department of Population Health, University of Oxford, and Chinese Academy of Medical Science, and Peking University have analyzed data from almost half million Chinese adults for these eye disorders. The questionnaire for the study covered questions to know the cooking habits of study participants, then tracked for hospital admissions of major eye diseases via linkage to health insurance records.
In fact, over the follow-up period of ten years, 4,877 cases of conjunctiva disorders, 13, 408 cataracts,1,583 disorders of cornea, sclera, iris, and ciliary body, and 1534 cases of glaucoma observed in the study participants.
Meanwhile, for those who used clean fuels for cooking, solid fuel users were mostly older women from rural areas, less educated, regular smokers, and agricultural workers. The thorough study of these factors led to the conclusion that long-term use of solid fuels used for cooking was related to 17%, 32%, and 35% higher risks of cataracts, conjunctiva, and DSCIC respectively in comparison to those who used clean cooking fuels.