Eye Hospital

Most workplaces nowadays have a centralised air-conditioning system to provide a comfortable environment for employees. However, little is known about the dangers that air conditioners pose to our health, particularly our eyes. While air conditioners provide relief and help us stay cool, most of us are unaware that they cause an artificial temperature change, which is harmful.

Being sick frequently for no apparent reason could be due to working long hours in an air-conditioned environment. While air conditioners affect the entire immune system, the eyes, being the most sensitive part of the body, are the most affected.

The air conditioner is a major cause of eye dryness, redness, itchiness, irritation, eye strain, recurring headaches, and blurring of vision, among other things. Air conditioners reduce humidity, resulting in evaporative dry eyes. As the temperature drops, the Meibomian gland’s ability to secrete oils that keep tears from evaporating too quickly decreases. Furthermore, AC ducts contain moulds, bacteria, and viruses that cause inflammation in the eye, making it a multifactorial source of eye harm.

Eye dryness reduces workplace performance and, as a result, personal confidence. Although it is not life-threatening, people tend to ignore it, which causes dry skin, allergies, generalised fatigue, osteoporosis, and respiratory disorders.

Your House and Humidity

Before we get into how air conditioners cause dry eyes, let’s first discuss the relationship between humidity, climate, and your home.

Humidity is defined as the amount of water vapour stored in the air. Because hot air can hold more moisture than cool air, the humidity levels in your home will change as the seasons change.

These changes can vary from house to house, and they are also affected by the climate in which you live. People who live in more humid areas, such as Goa or Himachal, will not experience the same drop in humidity as those who live in colder climates, such as Ladakh.

Nonetheless, the lower the humidity level in your home, the better. This can result in a variety of health problems, including dry eyes.

How Can Your Air Conditioner Cause Dry Eyes?

Your air conditioner can cause dry eyes in a variety of ways.

As previously stated, when your home cools, the humidity in your home decreases, which affects the quality of your tear film by causing your tears to evaporate more quickly.

Your meibomian glands are affected by low humidity and cool temperatures. The oil (lipids) in your tear film is produced by your meibomian glands to prevent evaporative dry eye. When tears evaporate too quickly, it makes wearing contact lenses more difficult.

Your car’s air conditioner has the same effect. Dry eyes can be aggravated by directing air towards your face. The blowing air will quickly dry out your eyes, preventing you from blinking properly and replenishing your tear film.

Dander from pets

Some people are allergic to the proteins found in pet dander. Later in life, it is possible to develop an allergy. Pet dander can become airborne, and your air conditioner can circulate it, causing allergy symptoms.

Dander can be reduced by regularly washing your pets. If this does not help, you may want to consider allergy shots or other medications.

Mildew and mould

Mold and mildew could be breeding in your air conditioning unit. These organisms thrive in moist environments. Mold or mildew can grow in your air conditioner if it has a damp or wet cooling coil, humidifier, or condensate pan.

Toxins released by mould and mildew can cause an allergic reaction or even disease.

Volatile organic compounds (VOCs)

VOCs are the byproducts of chemical off-gassing. They can be obtained from a variety of sources, including household cleaning supplies.

These toxic gases can be circulated by your air conditioning unit, especially if it has been cleaned with these products. Examine your cleaning products and look for safer alternatives.

What Causes Dry Eye? By AC

Evaporative dry eye can be exacerbated by air conditioning units. Evaporative dry eye can result in:


Sensations of stinging

Light sensitivity

Vision impairment

Managing AC-Related Dry Eye

Using a Humidifier and Tracking Your Humidity

A humidifier is a simple way to replace some of the humidity lost when using air conditioning. Humidifiers come in a variety of sizes and prices, and some of them can be directly installed in your home to provide the appropriate level of humidity all year.

Purchase a hygrometer for your home to ensure your humidity levels are within the normal range for your climate. Hygrometers measure the humidity in your home’s air and can tell you whether you should use a humidifier or not. Experts generally recommended humidity levels of 45 percent to keep your eyes comfortable.

Using Eye Drops

Even if the cause isn’t related to temperature, eye drops are commonly used to help manage dry eye symptoms. If you’re not sure where to begin, read our blog about which drops to use.

Maintaining and Regulating Your AC

Controlling and maintaining your air conditioner can also help you manage your dry eye symptoms. Instead of constantly running the air conditioner, turn it off when not in use. Running your air conditioner continuously makes it more difficult to maintain a healthy humidity level in your home, so turning it off can help moisture find its way back into the air.

Taking care of the sources of indoor air pollution

If you become ill as a result of indoor air pollution, you should treat your home rather than your symptoms:

Change the air filters. (HEPA filters are capable of removing 99.9% of particles larger than a certain size.)

Ensure that the registers and return vents are clean (the intake and output vents).

Clean the ductwork that runs beneath or above your house.

Remove any dust and debris from the area around the outdoor AC unit.

Keep an eye out for mould and clean it up as soon as possible.

Get yourself an air purifier.

Control the relative humidity in your home to prevent biological organisms from growing.

To prevent mould, mildew, bacteria, and mites from growing, remove any standing water, water-damaged materials, or wet surfaces.

Have your air conditioning ducts cleaned professionally.


While it may appear that you are allergic to your air conditioner, you are most likely reacting to air contaminants circulated by the unit. There are several potential sources of airborne contaminants in your home, but there are also ways to reduce these allergens.

A reaction to air conditioning may be caused by a condition known as cold urticaria in rare cases. Consult your doctor if you suspect you have this condition.

Dr Kamdar Eye Hospital‘s doctors specialise in LASIK, cataract, cornea, retina, and glaucoma treatments. Dr. Kamdar Eye Institute.

At the hospital, you will find cutting-edge medical facilities that combine revolutionary technologies with the most experienced ophthalmologists. Our goal is to assist you in realising your best vision.

For more information or to make an appointment with a consultant, please call or visit Dr Kamdar Eye Hospital.

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