With summer around the corner, most Phoenix residents know from experience that the air quality will worsen as the days grow warmer and longer. Here are a few things you should know about how it could affect your eye health.

Why is air quality worse when it is warmer?

During the summer, air quality suffers because the heat and sun reacts with pollutants emitted from automobiles, factories, power plants, and other sources. This turns the pollutants into ground-level ozone, which is the main component of smog. Then there is also the increased threat of smoke from massive wildfires that are becoming all too common over the past several years.

On days where smog, high ozone levels or smoke are expected, poor air quality alerts are normally issued to warn people who have respiratory issues. However, your eyes are also vulnerable to air pollution, especially if you wear contact lens.

What are some symptoms to watch for?

Poor air quality can cause a range of negative effects to your eye health, including:

However, even more serious are the eye conditions that are associated with exposure to air pollution that could permanently harm your vision if not treated or discovered early, including:

  • Dry eye syndrome
  • Conjunctivitis
  • Eye infections
  • Refractive errors
  • Impaired color vision
  • Cataracts
  • Glaucoma
  • Age-related macular degeneration
  • Cancers

What can you do to protect your eye health?

There are things that you can do to reduce the effects of poor air quality on your eye health, such as:

  • Avoiding going outdoors on days when the air quality is poor
  • Always wearing sunglasses outdoors
  • Using a humidifier in your home
  • Placing a cool compress on your closed eyes
  • Using lubricated eye drops
  • Not wearing contact lens when your eyes are irritated

Do you have concerns about your eye health because of exposure to poor air quality? Contact Valley Eyecare Center at (602) 955-2700 to schedule an appointment with one of our eye doctors. We will work with you to determine the best treatment to keep your eyes healthy.