Smoke, Fumes, Particulate Matter

Smoke, fumes, and particulate matter can be very irritating to anyone with Dry Eye, MGD, or related comorbidities. These can disrupt normal tear film, leading to debilitating irritation. Sometimes people say their eyes burn or sting. Some may even say it feels like  razor blades or knives are cutting into their eyeballs.

Smoke, which contains particulate matter, can play a role in chronic MGD. Exposure to smoke from campfires, and even just candles, can be very irritating and cause severe, acute symptoms, not to mention smoke from wildfires, controlled burns, or prescribed burns.

Once smoke triggers symptoms, the nerves can become hypersensitized and the debilitating irritation can linger for a long time. In the presence of a chronic underlying milder condition that is usually tolerable, exposure to smoke and particulate matter can also trigger a cascade of severe symptoms and the onset of comorbidities including obstructive Meibomian gland dysfunction or other ocular surface diseases.


Intraductal meibomian gland probing: background, patient selection, procedure, and perspectives
Maskin SL, Alluri S.
Clinical Ophthalmology
2019 Aug 05;13:1475
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