How to Relieve Effects of Wildfire Smoke on Your Eyes

August 27th, 2020
Wildfire Smoke In Your Eyes

Do you have itchy, irritated eyes, and some breathing trouble? Any headaches? Have you also been enjoying especially amazing sunrises and sunsets with dazzling red, hazy skies? There is a connection. This is more than the allergic irritation of pollen season. Every optometrist in Denver is busy treating patients when wildfire smoke blows into town, and it’s happening right now with several major wildfires burning in the state. ICON Eyecare, home of the best eye doctors in Colorado, can help you relieve your symptoms and protect your eyes.

Predicting and Coping with Forest Fire Smoke

Denver locals have learned that eye symptoms can arise whenever there’s a forest fire, either up and down the Front Range or further away on the Western Slope. Our wind patterns are amazingly effective at making us miserable when fires are burning anywhere in the West. We’ve learned not to underestimate wildfire smoke’s effects on us.

Knowing When to Protect Your Eyes from Smoky Air

The wind is an important topic in local Denver weather reports these days, especially when it brings smoke. Upslope and downslope flows govern our weather, powerful gusts along the Foothills can make travel difficult, and winds in the upper atmosphere carry smoke from hundreds of miles away.

Dealing with Wildfire Smoke Effects on Our Eyes

People in Denver can sense smoke from their eye irritation even before they hear about the fires. It’s important to protect yourself by limiting your exposure to smoky air, using air filters and humidifiers for better indoor air quality. Outdoors, eye coverings such as wrap-around sunglasses can help protect your eyes from windblown particles.

Smoke-Related Allergies, Irritation, and Inflammation

Smoke arrives as particles and chemical irritants. There are two strategies that make a big difference: One is cooling your eyes to reduce their reaction to smoke-based irritants. The other is to make sure your eyes are well-lubricated so that your tears can flush out smoke particles. Using over-the-counter allergy medicines can help reduce reactions in your eyes, nose, and lungs to the smoke, and reduce inflammation. Staying hydrated also can help you deal with smoke-related irritation.

A summary of your smoke survival strategy:

  • Stay conscious of smoke and air quality warnings, especially in summer
  • Stay indoors when air quality conditions are bad
  • Cool your eyes to lower inflammation and irritation
  • Cover your eyes when outdoors
  • Avoid using contact lenses or applying makeup near eyes
  • Keep your body hydrated and eyes lubricated with artificial tears
  • Use eye drops such as Pataday or Zaditor for irritation
  • See your eye doctor for problems that may not be smoke-related

See Your ICON Optometrist in Denver for Expert Care

Contact us today to help you manage smoke-related eye problems. If you have eye pain or severe irritation, please schedule an appointment with one of our eye doctors soon for a careful exam and diagnosis. Your vision is important, and we want to help you with any of your eye health concerns.