The wildfires spreading across Oregon and Washington are impacting our staff and patients by driving people out of their homes and putting firefighters in danger. It also can affect your health, even if you live several hours away. The smoke from nearby fires often becomes the air we breathe, harming our lungs. So, it’s no surprise that the smoky air harms our eyes, too. Poor air quality can have a variety of negative effects on your eye health. Redness, watering, burning sensations, itchiness, and other general vision problems, make our eyes incredibly sensitive when constantly exposed to the smoke’s harmful agents. On top of that, air pollution may have long-term consequences, like chronic dry eye.
Here are a few things you can do to reduce the effects of bad air quality on your eyes:
• Place a cool compress on top of your closed eyes.
• Wear sunglasses outdoors.
• Avoid contact lenses and eye makeup if your eyes are feeling irritated.
• Use a humidifier in your home.
• Limit your time outdoors.
Taking precautions like these while we live in such a high-pollutant area is important, since people who experience high pollutants are three to four times more likely to develop chronic dry eye syndrome. Dry eye syndrome occurs when the eyes can’t produce enough tears to nourish themselves. The effects of the poor air quality is known to take its toll on our breathing and our eye health. It’s impossible to completely avoid going outdoors, but there are ways to give your eyes a little help when the air is extra smoky.
We are monitoring the changing conditions of the wildfires and air quality near each of our clinics and will post closure notices to Facebook and Instagram.