Wild Fire Smoke and Your Eyes
With a fire currently burning near the Coachella Valley, with smoke coming into the area, Milauskas Eye Institute would like to remind you about the potential hazards that smoke can be to your eyes. Smoke from wildfires is a mixture of gases and fine particles from burning trees and other plant materials. Exposure to smoke can cause irritation, with symptoms such as burning sensations, redness, and tearing. Everyone, even a healthy person’s eyes, can be bothered by prolonged exposure to smoke. Exposure to smoke can also exacerbate symptoms for some patients, particularly those with Dry Eye syndrome. Over-the-counter artificial tears can provide relief from smoke-related irritation.
One hazard to your eyes can linger even after the smoke is gone. Barely visible ash and dust can remain in the fire areas for up to two weeks after the fires have been extinguished. It is recommended that you use protective eyewear while in or near these areas, especially when moving objects that may be coated with ash or fine dust.
The bottom line is; Smoke can hurt your eyes. If symptoms persist for longer than several days, you should consult your ophthalmologist.
Reference: American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) Photo Courtesy of Reuters