Is air pollution effecting your eyes?

While spring is just around the corner and most people are excited about the warmer weather, with it comes allergens and an increase in red, watery eyes. This is particularly true for those who live in cities. If you live in a bigger city, there’s a chance pollution is impacting your eye health.

The most common air pollutants are carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, particulates, sulfur dioxide, and a slew of other pollutants. Carbon monoxide is emitted from cars, heaters, and air conditioners and is the larger contributor to air pollution. Nitrogen dioxide, the main ingredient in acid rain, comes from factories and cars. Additional particulates which include finer and coarse particles can cause irritation to both your skin and eyes.

Sulfur dioxide, known for its famous rotten egg smell, can cause smog and has been a proven irritant to everything from your skin to your eyes. And, additional toxins like lead, benzene, and arsenic eat at the ozone layer and can increase your risk of cancer and other eye irritations.

The most common symptoms of pollution irritation include:

  • burning
  • itching
  • dryness
  • discharge
  • poor vision
  • redness

If you’re having an allergic reaction you might notice severe itching, redness, swelling, and even ulcers or conjunctivitis.

You’re at the highest risk for irritation if you spend a lot of time outside or enjoy partaking in outdoor activities. This is particularly true for those who go outside in crowded cities.

To treat irritation caused by pollution try using a cool compress over your eyes, wearing UV protective sunglasses, and talk with Dr. Trapeni about using lubricating eye drops. He can help you determine the root cause of your irritation and find the best way to treat it.