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How Air Pollution Affects Your Eyes

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Our eyes are sensitive to allergies, chemicals, and pollutants in the air. Living in the Central Valley, we know all about bad air quality days. Have you ever noticed your eyes are red or itchy on those days? Air pollutants usually cause temporary irritations and clear up as pollution reduces. People living in high air pollution areas are more likely to develop dry eye syndrome, which is when there are insufficient tears to lubricate the eyes. You can help your dry eyes by using a humidifier or by having food in your diet high in omega 3, antioxidants, water, etc.

Pollutants can also cause chemical conjunctivitis, which is the inflammation of the conjunctiva, the thin, transparent layer of tissue that lines the inner surface of the eyelid and covers the white part of the eye.

Other ways to protect yourself from air pollution are to:

  • Limit your time outside if you notice the sky looks “hazy”. It should be fairly noticeable and you can plan accordingly.
  • If you go outdoors, protect your eyes by wearing sunglasses.
  • If you wear contact lenses, clean them thoroughly to make sure they are disinfected and all particles are removed.