Local ophthalmologist sees spike in patients due to wildfire smoke

Health
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DENVER (KDVR) — Smoke from wildfires across Colorado and the western United States is pushing more patients to seek help from an eye doctor, according to Dr. Richard Davidson, an Ophthalmologist with UCHealth Sue Anschutz-Rodgers Eye Center.

“In Denver it’s been varying day to day depending on the status of the fires in Colorado and we’re probably getting some smoke from California and the Pacific Northwest. Certainly on days we can tell that people are noticing more irritants and discomfort in their eyes,” said Davidson.

Davidson says the smoke causes particulate matter in the air. He describes it as getting foreign bodies in the eye on a constant basis, causing eyes to become dry, red and itchy. In more severe cases, Davidson says some patients may experience impaired vision.

“It’s been a while since we’ve seen it this rampant because it’s been several weeks that our air quality has been questionable,” said Davidson.

He recommends using eyedrops known as “artificial tears” and keeping windows closed to avoid exposure as much as possible.

If symptoms last more than a few days, Davidson recommends contacting an eye doctor for help. 

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