Wildfire-Related Pollution and Eye Symptoms: Tips for Management from an Eye Doctor’s Perspective

We are seeing crazy hazy skies in NYC these days!

As wildfires continue to ravage in Canada, , the resulting pollution and smoke can have a significant impact on our health, including our eyes. The particles and chemicals released during wildfires can cause a range of eye symptoms and discomfort. In this blog post, we will discuss the common eye symptoms associated with wildfire-related pollution and provide practical management recommendations from an eye doctor’s point of view to help the general population protect their eye health during these challenging times.

Understanding the Impact of Wildfire-Related Pollution on Eye Health:

  1. Irritation and Redness: The tiny particles in smoke can irritate the eyes, leading to redness, itchiness, and a burning sensation.
  2. Dryness and Grittiness: Smoke can cause dryness in the eyes, making them feel gritty or as if there is a foreign object present.
  3. Watery Eyes: As a protective response to the irritation, the eyes may produce excessive tears, leading to watery eyes and blurred vision.
  4. Sensitivity to Light: Smoke can make the eyes more sensitive to light, causing discomfort and the need to squint.

Tips for Managing Eye Symptoms Related to Wildfire-Related Pollution:

  1. Limit Exposure: Whenever possible, stay indoors to minimize your exposure to smoke and pollutants. Keep windows and doors closed, and use air purifiers to maintain clean indoor air quality.
  2. Use Lubricating Eye Drops: Over-the-counter artificial tear eye drops can help alleviate dryness, redness, and irritation caused by smoke. Use preservative-free drops for maximum comfort and avoid eye drops that claim to “reduce redness” as they may constrict blood vessels, potentially exacerbating the issue.
  3. Maintain Good Eye Hygiene: Wash your hands frequently to prevent the transfer of irritants from your hands to your eyes. Additionally, avoid rubbing your eyes, as it can worsen symptoms and increase the risk of eye infections.
  4. Wear Protective Eyewear: If you must venture outdoors, consider wearing wrap-around sunglasses or goggles to shield your eyes from smoke particles and reduce their direct exposure to the pollutants.
  5. Follow Contact Lens Guidelines: If you wear contact lenses, consider switching to glasses temporarily, as smoke particles can adhere to the lenses, causing further irritation. If you continue to wear contact lenses, adhere to proper hygiene practices and consult with your eye doctor for guidance.
  6. Consult with an Eye Doctor: If your symptoms persist or worsen, it is advisable to seek professional guidance from an eye doctor. They can provide a comprehensive evaluation, recommend appropriate treatments, and ensure that no underlying eye conditions are exacerbating your symptoms.
  7. Stay Hydrated: Drinking plenty of water can help maintain adequate tear production and reduce the dryness associated with smoke exposure. Remember to stay hydrated throughout the day, even if you don’t feel thirsty.

Conclusion: As wildfires continue to impact air quality and contribute to pollution, it’s crucial to be mindful of the potential effects on your eye health. By following these management recommendations from an eye doctor’s perspective, you can alleviate discomfort, protect your eyes, and minimize the impact of smoke-related pollutants on your vision. Remember, if your symptoms persist or worsen, consult with an eye doctor for proper evaluation and personalized care. Stay informed, take necessary precautions, and prioritize your eye health during these challenging times.

Disclaimer: This blog post is for informational purposes only and should not be considered a substitute for professional medical advice. Always consult with your eye doctor or healthcare provider for personalized guidance and treatment options.

To make an appointment with Insight Ophthalmology, call 718-442-2711 or make an appointment on our website!