Let’s face it, despite the health issues, fried food tastes amazing. It’s hard to resist that savory, crispy crunch that you get when biting into a piece of fried chicken.
However, at times you might feel like your eyes are burning after you have fried the food. There can be several reasons behind your eyes getting an itchy or burning feeling after frying and we’ve put together a couple for you.
We’ve also offered some possible solutions so that there’s no need for you to cook with goggles on!
Why Are My Eyes Burning After Frying Food?
1. Deep Frying
While you are deep-frying the food, the oil reaches high temperatures of between 350 and 375 degrees Fahrenheit. At this temperature, sometimes a minute amount of oil or vapors get released into the air.
There are certain elements including acrolein in the oil that evaporate and can get to your eyes. This is more likely to happen when deep-frying rather than shallow frying.
To avoid this and to help keep your stove and surrounding area clean, you can purchase a deep fryer screen on top of your deep fryer. These are usually made of easy to clean, heavy-duty, chrome-plated stainless steel.
If you don’t have a deep fat fryer but use a frying pan or wok instead, invest in a mesh splatter guard or screen. These simple tools are just a mesh screen stretched across a metal circle with a handle.
The mesh stops most of the oil spatters but still allows steam to escape. This simple device will not only protect your eyes and hands but will also keep your stove clean while frying.
And the best part is that they cost less than ten dollars. (You can’t use an ordinary lid as this would keep the steam inside, leaving you with soggy rather than crispy fried food.)
These screens are usually 12 inches in diameter so they fit every frying pan. Don’t worry if it overlaps a little on your smaller pans.
There is another possibility why your eyes burn when you are frying food. If you are using a lot of spices with a small amount of oil, those spices can cause a slight smoke effect. That smoke with spice residues or volatile oils, when getting into your eyes, will cause them to burn.
Remember to add spices in the appropriate amounts only, and try to keep your face away from the pan while you are frying food with lots of spices in them, particularly chilies.
To prevent this issue, make sure you use the extractor fan or hood above your stove. Turn off all ceiling fans in the kitchen so that the smoke gets extracted out of the room rather than blown around.
If you don’t have an extractor, make sure you ventilate your kitchen well when frying food – open the doors and windows. Make sure your extractor filter is clean – you could try putting some charcoal in it if it isn’t working well.
Make sure your oil is clean and filter it after every use. Use fresh oil after frying in it a few times, especially if you have used spices. Purchase oils with a high smoke point for deep frying such as canola or peanut oil. These will reduce any smoke in the air that may be burning your eyes.
How to Soothe Burning Eyes
Nobody likes having red, burning eyes. While the burning you experience when frying food isn’t likely to be dangerous, it isn’t pleasant. Here are a few things you can do to make your eyes feel better.
- Lie down for 5 minutes with a cucumber slice on each eye. This has a wonderful cooling, soothing effect and your eyes will feel better in no time.
- Alternatively, if you have no cucumber, use a couple of cold, used tea bags. This also has a very soothing effect.
- Failing that, take two clean washcloths and dampen them with warm water. Lie down for a few minutes with one over each eye.
- Get a bottle of artificial tear eye drops and use these when your eyes feel irritated.
We hope this has helped you to find the reasons for your eyes burning when you are frying food. Let us know if any of our fixes worked for you!