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Your Environment and Your Eyes

Environment and Your Eyes. St, Alexandria, VA

Your eyes and vision are essential parts of the way you perceive the world around you, which is why it's so important to make sure that you can keep your eyes as healthy and your vision as clear and comfortable as possible. Unfortunately, factors in your environment can work against you, causing significant discomfort and even long-term damage to your eyes and vision. Here are a few:

Climate and Weather

People who live in hot, dry climates with little humidity in the air tend to be more susceptible to conditions like dry eye, especially in the summer. Exposure to the sun’s harmful UV rays can also increase your risk of developing sight-threatening conditions like cataracts and macular degeneration.

Colder climates can cause issues as well. Windy and chilly weather can irritate your eyes and cause tears to evaporate more quickly, resulting in dry eye symptoms. Cold temperatures can also cause blurry vision due to blood vessels in the eye constricting from the chilly weather.


It’s common to experience red, itchy or gritty-feeling eyes in reaction to allergens like ragweed, pollen, mold and chlorine in pools and jacuzzis. If you experience these symptoms, speak to your doctor about the best ways to treat your allergies.


Although pollution tends to be associated with city living, it can affect people just about anywhere. Air pollution can come from many sources, including cars, smoke from fireplaces, forest fires and piles of burning debris, and nearby power and chemical plants. Symptoms can include dry, irritated eyes and blurry or double vision. Severe pollution can also increase your risk of developing sight-threatening diseases such as glaucoma and macular degeneration.

So, What Can You Do About It?

Besides locking yourself away from the world and never going outdoors there are a number of things you can do to protect your eyes from environmental irritants. Tips include:

  • Wear sunglasses when going out in the daytime to protect against UV light. This will also help keep wind and allergens from blowing directly into your eyes. Wraparound sunglasses are especially effective.
  • Use an air filtration system in your house or apartment to reduce allergens and air pollution as much as possible while at home.
  • Wear goggles while swimming to avoid contact with chlorine, and remember to never wear contact lenses while swimming or in a jacuzzi, as these can breed bacteria that can cause serious eye infections.
  • Use humidifiers while at home or in the office to increase the amount of moisture in the air. This will reduce the chances of dry eye symptoms.

Want to know more about how your environment affects your eyes and vision? Contact our eye doctors at New Era Eyecare today!


Can eye allergies be dangerous for my eyes?

In most cases, eye allergies don't cause long-term damage to your eyes. However, in rare, extreme cases, untreated allergies can cause scarring of the eye that may affect your ability to see. Further, constant rubbing of the eyes due to itchiness or dryness may cause complications such as keratoconus or worsening of conditions such as myopia or glaucoma.

Are eye allergies contagious?

No. Eye allergies aren't contagious. However, they can make it more likely that you'll experience an eye infection such as pink eye (due to rubbing your eyes with your unclean fingers), which can be contagious. If your eyes are red or irritated, schedule an appointment with your Clifton optometrist.