Wildfire smoke contains microscopic particles, such as ash and soot, that irritate the eyes, leading to redness, itching, and a gritty sensation. Additionally, the high levels of pollutants and chemicals in the air can exacerbate existing eye conditions like dry eye syndrome, conjunctivitis, or even corneal abrasions.
What are some preventative tips?
Stay informed: Keep track of local air quality reports and wildfire updates to anticipate potential risks.
Limit exposure: Minimize outdoor activities when air quality is poor, and consider wearing wraparound sunglasses to shield your eyes from smoke and debris. Additionally, taking a break from your contacts can help relieve any eye irritation.
Eye hygiene: Over-the-counter artificial tears like preservative-free Refresh Relieva or Systane Ultra can help flush out any irritants and keep them lubricated.
Indoor environment: Create a clean and smoke-free sanctuary by using air purifiers and keeping windows and doors closed.
Seek professional help: If you experience persistent eye irritation or symptoms, consult your eye doctor for a comprehensive examination and appropriate treatment.
While wildfires pose a threat to our environment and overall health, it's crucial not to overlook the potential impact on our eyes. By understanding the risks and implementing these preventative tips, we can protect our vision and minimize the harmful effects of wildfire smoke. Stay vigilant, stay informed, and prioritize the health of your eyes in the face of this growing environmental challenge.