Smoke and air pollution can irritate your eyes and cause symptoms such as burning, dryness and tearing and can lead to chronic discomfort and eye irritation. It can also increase the risk of dry eye syndrome. Continual exposure to smoke and air pollution can affect the tears, oil glands and tear ducts, which can lead to dry eyes. Toxic fumes can cling to the outer surface of the eye the same way allergens can, and damage the tear film. The longer you are exposed to these toxic pollutants, the more the problem can worsen and even become chronic.
What can you do?
When the air quality is poor, it is best to not be outside for extended periods of time. If you are outdoors and your eyes do get irritated, below are options that can help:
Sunglasses with wraparound frames or protective glasses or shields can help to keep pollutants from adhering to the surface of your eyes.
Saline eyewashes help rinse debris away from both your eyes and contact lenses. We recommend Ocufresh to rinse your eyes.
Wash irritants off your face using a gentle cleanser and concentrate around your eyes. We recommend a new product called Cliradex Foam, a gentle tea tree oil-based cleanser designed specifically for the eyes. Cliradex towlettes are also designed to clean around the eyes safely.
If you wear contact lenses, you should replace them more frequently than usual. Think about switching to dailies if your eyes are dry and this is a recurring problem.
In between changing your contact lenses, use an enzymatic cleaner that removes protein deposits from your contacts.
Rewetting drops for irritated eyes throughout the day also help.
Remember, if your eyes become irritated to the point where you are in pain and over-the-counter products are not working, you should call to make an appointment with your eye doctor immediately.