PUTRAJAYA: Government eye clinics in the country saw an increase of up to 30% in outpatient visits due to haze-related illnesses.
The Health Ministry's head of ophthalmology services Dr Nor Fariza Ngah said the most common ailment brought about by the haze was allergic conjunctivitis.
“The haze situation has caused a spike in the number of outpatients seeking ophthalmology services.
“Most of it is due to allergic conjunctivitis.
"This condition is not contagious, but it causes discomfort, as well as red and watery eyes.
“There is also an increase in the incidence of dry eyes.
“Usually, we advise our patients to apply artificial tears and also to reduce outdoor exposure, ” said Dr Nor Fariza at a press conference here after the launch of World Patient Safety Day Malaysia on Tuesday (Sept 17).
Dr Nor Fariza added that those with asthma were more prone to haze-related illnesses.
Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad said the ministry’s health facilities were prepared for the inevitable increase in outpatients during the haze season.
“The director-general of health will also continuously update the public through announcements on our social media sites, as well as press statements, ” he added.
The haze situation in Malaysia has hit unhealthy levels, with schools in Selangor, Putrajaya, Sarawak and Port Dickson in Negri Sembilan forced to shut down.
The situation is mainly caused by transboundary haze from Kalimantan, Indonesia, brought about by forest fires.