Smoke from wildfires can spread across the country. The smoke affects our health as well as our eyes even if we are in a far distance. If you are suffering from dry eyes, blepharitis, or allergic conjunctivitis, the smoke can give you a burning and stinging eye pain.
John Bosetti, an ophthalmologist, checked patients with complaints of stinging, burning, and red eyes due to the event. Even the ophthalmologist feels the same way about his eyes. The distance of his practice is miles from the largest wildfire.
Those patients that have pre-existing health problems are having a hard time. There is no exception with the red and irritated eyes that smoke of a wildfire can cause.
Tips to Get Relief From Wildfire Smoke
We are in a pandemic where we are advised to stay indoors to prevent virus transmission. Face masks are being used to prevent the spread of coronavirus but it is also helpful in reducing the exposure of the smoke.
A mask cannot help our eyes but it will help us in decreasing the inhalation of smoke and particles from wildfire and prevent from catching coronavirus.
These are the five simple ways that Dr. Bosetti suggest to help our eyes when there is a cloud of heavy smoke in the air:
- Over-the-counter artificial tears or lubricating eye drops are helpful to rinse your eyes with the dust and particles that are accumulated. If these dust and particles remain in your eye, irritation can happen.
- Cool your eyes by putting a cold compress or storing the artificial tears in the refrigerator because it can give you a soothing feeling.
- If you are aware that you are sensitive to smoke or when you have dry eyes, stay indoors as much as possible. It is better to close the windows and doors to keep the air inside clean. An air filter can help in keeping the wildfire smoke out of your house.
- Do not rub your eyes because dust and ash from your hands can be transferred. If the dust and ash went into your eyes, it could be irritating. To prevent this problem, wash your hands regularly and avoid touching your face or eyes if your hands are not clean.
- Wear protective equipment such as glasses and goggles to provide a barrier between the air and your eyes.
How Can an Ophthalmologist Help During Wildfires?
Consult your ophthalmologist if the measures stated above do not give relief. A slit lamp may be used to determine the reasons behind eye discomfort. Anti-inflammatory medication may be prescribed by eye doctors to soothe your eyes until the smoke clears out.