You may have seen some of the startling images coming out of Beijing that show the record levels of smog.

Holy smokes! How did the air quality in China get to this level? It doesn’t take an environmental expert or medical doctor to realize this isn’t good for living things.

This started us thinking about smog’s adverse health effects on your eyes. Let’s talk about it.

The word “smog” is a portmanteau of “smoke” and “fog.” While the latter isn’t likely to bother you too much—outside of your glasses fogging up occasionally—the former is a definite enemy of the eyes.

If you’ve ever had smoke blow into your eyes, you know it’s an irritant. It stings immediately and can dry out your eyes—something they definitely want to avoid.

Our eyes need moisture to remain comfortable. Blinking helps provide this, along with nourishment. This is why we do it so often—around 12,000 times per day on average.

Blinking does more than essentially splash some water on our eyes. Tears are actually made up of three layers, which include water, oil, and mucus. Each layer has its purpose.

The water is for moisture, while the oil helps prevent the water from evaporating too quickly, and the mucus helps ensure everything spreads evenly across your eyes. There is only so much protection blinking can offer, however.

Bathing your eyes in the thick sea of harmful particulates in smog is just not a formula for eye ease—much less the ravages on the respiratory system. The people in Beijing must be feeling terrible.

Let’s hope they get some relief soon, and continue to implement their plans to reduce—if not eliminate—the environmental pains that come with rapid industrialization.

In the meantime, feel free to check out our tips on helping protect your eyes (smog or no smog).

Nothing in this blog post is to be construed as medical advice, nor is it intended to replace the recommendations of a medical professional. For specific questions, please see your eye care practitioner.
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