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How Climate Change Can Affect Your Vision

closeup of woman's eye with reflection of an image of the world

We see the devastation of climate change all around us as violent storms, prolonged droughts, wildfires and flooding become more common. Another effect of climate change you may observe is literally in how you see. Does the environment affect your vision? Scientists and doctors are increasingly finding evidence that climate change negatively impacts eye health. Here’s how.

Environmental Factors and Vision Loss

The fact that environmental factors play a role in vision loss has been known for a long time. Parts of the eye, including the eyelid, cornea, sclera and lens, are exposed to the elements every waking hour. However, the specific effects of climate change are currently compounding eye health issues related to environmental exposure. Drought and Dry Eye Syndrome Dry eye syndrome is when your tear ducts don’t produce enough fluid to sufficiently lubricate your eyes. Symptoms include stinging, burning and scratchiness, which only worsen in extremely arid weather conditions. Extended drought in some regions can exacerbate these symptoms and complicate the condition. Smog and Eye Health Particles in the air and smog from greenhouse gas emissions are notorious for causing respiratory issues, but they also affect eye health. Contact lens wearers can find high air pollution levels extremely uncomfortable, even painful. Allergy sufferers experience worsening symptoms like itchy, watery eyes. Pollution can also cause conjunctivitis, or pink eye, an inflammation or infection of the membrane lining your eyelid and eyeball. Ozone Depletion and UV rays Greenhouse gases are causing depletion of the earth’s ozone layer, which historically protected us from the sun’s UV rays. Over time, excess UV exposure can cause cataracts, corneal sunburn and macular degeneration. Wear a pair of high-quality sunglasses with 100 per cent UV protection when you’re outside. Sunglasses are essential for children because their eyes are still growing and more sensitive to UV rays. With time and effort, reducing greenhouse gas emissions on both a local and global scale can slow the effects of climate change and reduce the risk of eye disease worldwide.

Optometrists and Eyeglasses in Edmonton and the Surrounding Area

At Optometrists’ Clinic Inc., your vision and eye health are our top priorities. Our optometrists perform general, pediatric and diabetic eye exams. We also carry a wide range of fashionable, polarized, UV-blocking sunglasses and prescription safety glasses for maximum optical protection. Visit our clinics in Edmonton, Westlock and Leduc and browse our extensive collection of eyeglasses. Contact us today to schedule an exam.


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