Winter is Here: Tips to Help Dry Eye
We just celebrated the first day of winter, which means the winter season is in full swing! The chilling effects of the colder months, your environment, and your wardrobe are not the only parts of your life that need winter preparation; our bodies and health are often affected just as much by the winter changes.
Dry, cool air, cold winds, and even drier indoor heating can cause eye irritation, burning, itchiness, and redness, and sometimes even excessively watery eyes as more tears are produced to compensate for the dryness. Many people have a chronic feeling that they have something in their eye, and some even experience blurred vision. These symptoms can be debilitating!
Dry eyes are among the most common complaints eye doctors get from patients during the winter season. While it is difficult to avoid dry eyes altogether in the winter months, there are several steps that you can take to ensure that your eyes stay as hydrated and healthy as possible this winter season.
10 Tips to Relieve Winter Dry Eyes:
- Use a humidifier to counteract the drying effects of indoor heaters or generally dry air.
- Point car vents or indoor heaters away from your face when the heat is on. Try to keep your distance from direct heating sources, especially if they blow out the heat.
- Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water. A warm drink to try during the cold months If cold water does not appeal to you, try herbal tea or hot lemon or ginger-infused water.
- Protect your eyes when outside. Consider wearing a brimmed hat, sunglasses, goggles, or a visor. Wind, UV rays, and the elements irritate dry eyes even during the colder months. Also, damaging UV rays still cause premature eye aging during the winter.
- Soothe dry eyes using a warm compress and never rub them! Rubbing your eyes will increase irritation and may lead to infection if the hands are not clean.
- Give your eyes a digital break. People blink less during screen time, which is why extensive computer use can lead to dry eyes. Follow the 20/20/20 rule by taking a break every 20 minutes to look 20 feet away for 20 seconds, and make sure you blink!
- Use over-the-counter or prescription moisturizing eye drops. Talk with your eye doctor for guidance on the appropriate product for your needs and your medical history. For many patients, artificial tears and an eye-healthy lifestyle restore hydration to their eyes.
- If you smoke, consider quitting. If you do not smoke, avoid secondhand smoke since it also dries and irritates your eyes (and lungs).
- Eat foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids such as fish or walnuts. Also, consider taking omega-3 supplements. These healthy fats also help maintain lubricated eyes and reduce inflammation.
- Dry eye can signify many eye conditions ranging from mild to severe. Be sure to see your eye care professional for annual screening and discuss any symptoms you experience.
If these basic remedies don’t help alleviate your dry eyes, make an appointment with us. Our eye doctors can examine your eyes and help determine the quality and amount of tear production through specialized testing.
We have the best practice family, and that includes our patients!
References: American Academy of Ophthalmology
The content is researched and vetted by the American Academy of Ophthalmology and the American Optometric Association. This blog provides information and discussion about eye health and related subjects. The content provided on this blog and any linked materials are not intended and should not be considered medical advice. If the reader or any other person has a medical concern, they should consult with an appropriately licensed physician.