08 Jun How to Protect Your Eyes From the Smoke of Wildfires
How to Protect Your Eyes From the Smoke of Wildfires
It is usually our West Coast neighbors that experience smoke from wildfires during the summer months. However, as Canada is experiencing one of the worst wildfires in their history for the past six weeks, the smoke has spread down the East Coast affecting the air quality in this part of the country. Canadian wildfire season is usually May through October. Considering how ferocious these fires are and how early on in the season, it does not seem likely there will be an end to the smog any time soon.
There is much concern in regards to environmental safety, but this also poses an immediate health risk for all those in the path of the smoke. The Air Quality Index (AQI) measures the amount of pollution in the air. The index runs from 0 to 500. AQI measuring up to 50 would be the safest. Currently, the AQI in the East Coast is measuring at 110 to 130 which is considered to be at an unhealthy level.
This much pollution is unhealthy to breathe in, but it can also be unhealthy for the eyes. An immediate risk to the eyes would be the smoke particles getting into the eye that can be irritating. The smoke can also affect the tear film which can cause dry eyes or with someone that has a preexisting dry eye condition, it can make it much worse.
Some things to consider to protect your eyes if you are living in an area that is affected by wildfire smoke:
- Stay indoors and try to keep all doors and windows closed.
- Use humidifiers and HEPA air purifiers.
- Use artificial tears several times a day.
- Wear goggles or wrapped sunglasses if you do have to be outdoors.
If you experience any redness or eye irritation make sure to see your eye doctor immediately.