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How To Deal With Smoke In Your Eyes

March 13, 2021

When you have smoke enter your eyes, it is an unpleasant and potentially dangerous experience. Many people, especially those near the California wildfires, have experienced this situation.

Smoke in the eyes can cause a variety of problems such as:

  • Dry eyes (potentially causing damage to the cornea)
  • Burning, itchy, watery, and irritated eyes
  • Changes in vision (usually temporary)

If you already suffer from dry eyes, smoke can exasperate the problem, making it worse and harder to treat.

To alleviate the symptoms, you will need to remove yourself from the smoke as best as possible. What you can start with is getting inside the nearest building or your home as quickly as you can. After that, try the following steps:

  • Close all windows and screen doors and remain inside
  • Fill up your humidifier with water and run it on full blast until you feel more comfortable
  • Turn on your air filter or air purifier

Once you have made the changes to your environment, you can focus on treating your eyes:

  • If you need to go outside again, put on goggles or a pair of sunglasses that wrap around your head
  • Use preservative-free eye drops (artificial tears) several times per day. You can even leave the bottle in the fridge or freezer for some time. The cool temperature can assist in calming your eye irritation
  • Do not rinse your eyes out with tap water or rub your eyes
  • Avoid putting on eye makeup that can cause further irritation

If you have tried all of these methods and are still feeling the effects of the smoke, call your eye doctor. They may ask you to come in for an examination so that they can prescribe you anti-inflammatory medication to help your eyes.

It can sometimes be difficult to avoid getting smoke in your eyes if you need to leave the house to go to work or school. Carry your artificial tears with you and use them as soon as you reach your destination. By following the guidelines above and taking precautions in smoky environments, you should be able to maintain your eye health.

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