California Burning - Air Quality Index & Eyes
First the bad news.
Through a combination of poor forest management and electrical grid maintenance mismanagement, California is suffering terrible fire seasons.
Now the good news.
The smoke and myriad pollutants can irritate the eyes but won’t damage them. Your eyes may feel gritty and sting, but this will not have a lasting negative effect on the eyes. They will return to the status present before the fires began. The irritating chemicals and particulate matter in the air land on the surface of the eye and the tear film. The tear film covers the cornea and the whites of the eye. This creates stinging and even blurred vision. Tissue may swell, become injected and turn red. Occasionally there is an allergic reaction and the eyes itch.
When the smoke goes away, so will the symptoms that many of us feel. In the meantime, there are a few things you can do to decrease the symptoms. If the eyes are gritty use artificial tears 4 to 6 times in both eyes. This will wash away the irritating chemicals and particulate matter while refreshing the surface of the cornea. Pataday is an excellent over the counter medication for relief of itchy eyes. Use it once or twice a day as instructed on the bottle. Give it 3 or 4 days to have a full effect. Both are available in pharmacies, supermarkets and online. Finally, place a washcloth soaked in cold water over the eyes for 3 to 5 minutes to reduce swelling and irritation.