Have you ever felt your eyes itch or become dry? If this happens often, the cause of your irritated eyes could be surprising—the air quality around you. Air quality affects more than just your lungs, and it can be a major cause of irritated eyes or more serious eye diseases.
If you’ve ever walked through a cloud of smoke or perfume, you probably know that eyes can be temporarily sensitive to air pollutants. However, if your home or workplace has poor indoor air quality, you are exposed to pollutants constantly without realizing it. Studies show that this can make a person 4 times more likely to develop dry eye syndrome, a chronic condition where the body cannot produce enough tears to keep eyes healthy.
When a person has dry eyes, the eye is more susceptible to airborne particles irritating the eye and causing vision or health problems. If the dry eye syndrome is caused by poor air quality, then there is a high likelihood for continuing problems to occur.
Increased eye irritation can cause conjunctivitis, commonly known as pinkeye. This occurs when the membrane on the outer layer of the eye becomes irritated and then infected. This infection can cause symptoms similar to that of a cold, along with extremely painful and itchy eyes. People who wear contacts normally may find continuing to wear them impossible.
Long term exposure to polluted air can cause serious and long-lasting issues for your health and your eyes. Make sure your health is protected by ensuring quality indoor air at your home and workplace.
The pollutants that could contribute to eye irritation are volatile organic compounds (VOCs), microbial VOCs (from mold), particulates, and even elevated CO2 levels. Fresh air exchange can help reduce all of these pollutants.