The haze could leave you in a daze, especially when it affects your eyesight.


Over the recent years, Asia has seen an increase in haze occurrences and worsening of haze levels, some of which have been deemed hazardous.1,2 Most of the time, the haze will have negative effects on your body, even your eyes.

CLOUDY VISION? 5 WAYS TO PROTECT FROM THE HAZE

Contact lens wearers are more susceptible to eye irritations and even inflammation due to excess particles in the air, causing dirty lenses during the haze. As a contact lens user, you might experience the following symptoms which will leave you feeling uncomfortable when it is hazy outside:  

  • Cloudy, hazy or blurry vision
  • Dirty, oily or filmy lenses
  • Foreign body sensation - such as sand in the eyes or gritty eyes
  • Heavy protein deposits3
  • Inflammation of the eyelid, or Blepharitis


Blesharitis is characterized by inflammation near the part where eyelashes grow, and symptoms include watery eyes, red eyes, crusting at the eyelid and eyelid itching4.

To prevent these symptoms, here are 5 ways you can protect your eyes from the haze:

1. Use eye drops regularly


Keep lenses lubricated and remove debris and protein deposits from your lenses by using eyedrops. It’s important not to wash your eyes with tap water, as the chemicals in tap water may cause further irritation.5

2. Switch to spectacles instead


An alternative would be to temporarily stop wearing contact lens and switch to spectacles, so that your eyes have adequate tears to wash away dirt. Spectacles also act as a physical barrier which limit the amount of particles entering your eye.

3. Dose up on water, food items rich in Omega-3 fatty acids and fruits and vegetables rich in vitamin A


Dose up on water, food items rich in Omega-3 fatty acids and fruits and vegetables rich in vitamin A

Improve eye health by staying hydrated and paying more attention to your nutrition intake. Fish and soybeans are good sources of Omega-3 fatty acids which can help reduce dry eye symptoms.6 Vitamin A protects the cornea, thus it is also useful to consume food items that are rich in this, such as sweet potatoes and carrots7.

4. Wear protective eyewear


If you are working in an external environment that exposes your eyes to sand or other foreign particles, you might want to further protect your eyes by wearing protective eyewear such as goggles, especially if you work in a particularly dusty environment (i.e. construction, shipping.)

5. Clean eye lids regularly


Regular cleaning of eyelids and lashes with some water and cotton pads, or over the counter lid wipes like BLINK Lid-Clean Cleansing Eye Lid Wipes from Johnson&Johnson help unplug blocked eyelid glands and clear out oily secretions. Gently wipe the eyelid in an outward direction, and use a new cotton square or wipe for each eye.

Lastly, this might be obvious, but the best way to beat the haze is really to stay out of it. Stay indoors and keep all windows and doors closed; it’s best if you have an air purifier as well – this protects not just your eyes, but your respiratory organs too.

The general rule of thumb: hydrate yourself, eat healthy and protect yourself from the haze as much as possible!





References
1. Schwela et al. Urban Air Pollution in Asian Cities. Stockholm Environment Institute and the Clean Air Initiative for Asia Cities, 2006.
2.
Jackson Ewing et al. Transboundary Haze in South East Asia; Challenges and Pathways Forward. NTS Alert October 2012, Singapore: RSIS Centre for Non Traditional Security (NTS) Studies for NTS-Asia.
3.
Ron Loveridge. Effective Management of Induced Dry Eye Syndrome with Soft CLs. April 21, 2000. www.optometry.co.uk
4
.
"Blepharitis." Symptoms. (n.d.). Retrieved 18 June 2015, from http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/blepharitis/basics/symptoms/con-20024605
5
.
Boost et al. Detection of Acanthamoeba in Tap Water and Contact Lens Cases Using Polymerase Chain Reaction. Optom Vis Sci 2008;85:526-530
6.
Eye Benefits of Omega-3 Fatty Acids. (n.d.). Retrieved June 12, 2015, from http://www.allaboutvision.com/nutrition/fatty_acid_1.htm
7
.
Vitamin A and Beta Carotene: Eye Benefits. (n.d.). Retrieved June 12, 2015, from http://www.allaboutvision.com/nutrition/vitamin_a.htm
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