Much has been said about the harmful effects of climate change on your body. Your eyes, in particular, may bear most of the impact because they are such fragile, intricate organs. Here, your trusted optometrist from Vienna Eyecare Center explains how the environmental modifications brought through climate change can affect your visual health.
1. Ozone Depletion Brings Stronger Ultraviolet (UV) Rays
The ozone layer is primarily responsible for absorbing solar radiation, preventing harmful UV rays from reaching the Earth. As a result of climate change, the ozone layer is deteriorating , which may lead to an increasing trend of UV-related eye problems. UVA is commonly associated with eye sunburns, while UVB rays are frequently linked to cataract development. This is why we recommend wearing sunglasses with built-in UVA and UVB protective features to maintain your visual health.
2. Low Humidity Causes Desiccating Eye Syndromes
Low humidity is often accompanied by dry air, which can cause the natural tears in your eyes to evaporate too quickly. This may result in dry eye disease and other similar desiccating eye disorders. We may prescribe applying artificial tear drops as part of your eye care efforts for improved visual comfort.
3. Frequent Climate Shifts May Exacerbation Your Allergies
Environmental changes may lead to an increased number of airborne pollutants and a toxic mix of allergens. They may cause exacerbation of seasonal allergies and other eye irritations. We advise checking the pollen count in your area and wearing a face mask before heading outdoors.
4. Smog and Smoke May Lead to Certain Eye Diseases
Dr. Sheila West, the Vice Chair for Research at the Wilmer Eye Institute of the Johns Hopkins University, conducted a study on the consequences of climate change on the eye. Her findings show that exposure to charcoal or wood fires increases your risk of developing trachoma. This is a contagious eye infection, which often leads to scarring of the inner part of the eyelids. It causes eyelashes to turn inward, resulting in scratches on the cornea. This is why your reliable eye doctor emphasizes the importance of regular eye exams to allow early detection of these problems.
If you have any further questions about the effects of climate change on your visual health, call us at (703) 938-7633 or fill out our form.