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When wildfire smoke gets in your eyes

Wildfire smoke can cause several eye problems, including inflammation, irritation, allergic reactions and dry eyes. This happens because the smoke particles are miniscule foreign bodies in your eyes. They dissolve into your tears and coat the surface of your eye, causing burning, stinging, teary and red eyes.

To protect your eyes from wildfire smoke:

  • Limit time outdoors and keep windows and doors closed while you’re inside.

  • Use an air purifier and your home’s air filtration can help too. Make sure your filters have been changed recently — and note they may need changing again after a wildfire smoke event.

  • Set your car and home air conditioners to recirculate so that smoky outside air isn’t drawn inward. Again, check those filters to maintain air quality.

  • If you already have dry eyes, wildfire smoke will make it worse. Use lubricating drops as directed.

For contact lens wearers, those tiny particles can get lodged beneath contact lenses and cause inflammation and pain. Wearing eyeglasses is a better option. If you must wear your contact lenses in a smoky outdoor environment, practice good hygiene and consider wearing sunglasses or safety goggles.


Brought to you by:

Michelle Lee, OD

Albany Willetta St SW (541) 926-5848

Albany Custom Eyes (541) 928-2020

Downtown Corvallis (541) 757-1120

NW Corvallis (541) 752-4622

Lebanon (541) 451-5808

Lincoln City (541) 614-0946

Salem (971) 377-2703


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