Cold weather increases the number of people seeking remedies for dry eyes. This is because humidity is lower during fall and winter months. On windy days, your eyes likely feel even drier. All of these issues occur when your eyes cannot make enough tears or the tears they produce evaporate too quickly. Below, we provide information from CSI Dry Eye about how to reduce winter’s dry eye effects.
Do I have dry eyes?
If you experience chronically dry eyes that burn or hurt, you need to visit your eye doctor. Your doctor will provide an eye exam to determine the cause of your dry eyes and provide treatment. Of course, they will assess your symptoms and look for signs of conditions that commonly cause dry eyes.
Some of the symptoms of dry eye include:
- Feeling like something is in your eye
- Light sensitivity
- Burning or stinging
- Scratching sensations in the eye
- Discomfort when wearing contact lenses
- Excessive tearing in response to the ongoing dryness
- Stringy mucus in the eyes
- Blurred vision
- Eye fatigue
How to Reduce Winter Dry Eye Effects
Medical attention is important if you experience chronic dry eye, especially if you have sharp pain. Chronic dry eye sometimes occurs because of an underlying health condition and can also cause permanent damage to your eyes. But following some of the dry eye remedies below can help you reduce winter dry eye effects.
Use an indoor humidifier.
Using a humidifier during the winter can counteract some of the drying effects of indoor heating. A humidifier enhances air moisture, possibly relieving your symptoms of dry eye, if not the condition as a whole.
Wear outdoor eye protection.
When outdoors, shield your eyes from the elements like sun and wind by wearing a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses, visor or goggles. If you are prone to experiencing dry eyes, you will struggle even more when the air is colder. Wearing eye protection outdoors also prevents premature eye aging.
Drink plenty of water.
Water, herbal tea or hot water infused with lemon or ginger can help you stay hydrated and prevent drying of your eyes and skin, at the same time.
Avoid hot air blowing in your eyes.
Turn chairs and other household seating away from heating vents to keep air from blowing directly into your eyes. Wherever you go, avoid sitting next to heating vents or heaters. Also avoid air from your hair dryer by closing your eyes during use around your face.
Spend time each day away from your computer, device and television screens.
Winter is a time for all of us to spend more time indoors, particularly engaged with our handheld devices, computers and televisions. Try to spend more time each day away from these screens to enable your eyes to rest. You blink less when focused on these devices and, as a result, your eyes become drier.
Wear your glasses more often than contact lenses.
Wearing your glasses more often and giving your eyes a break from contact lenses can help your eyes reduce their dryness. Contacts can irritate your eyes, whereas glasses provide protection from heating and the wind.
Remove eye makeup before bed.
Eye makeup and mascara can cause dry eye or exacerbate it, since these cosmetics clog tear ducts. To remove your eye makeup, wash your eyes carefully using a soft cloth, gentle cleanser and warm water.
Cut back on your vices.
Smoking, alcohol and caffeine can dry your eyes. Consider quitting smoking and avoiding being around others who smoke while you are present. Also limit caffeine use because caffeine is a diuretic that exacerbates eye dryness.
Eat healthy fats.
Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids and omega-3 supplements help your eyes stay lubricated. These foods, such as walnuts and fish, may also reduce your inflammation from dry eyes.
Consume more eye-friendly nutrients.
Vitamins A, C and E naturally support your eye health, including their lubrication. Eat more citrus fruit, carrots, fresh produce and avocados. Also consider taking supplements to ensure you get enough of these essential vitamins.
Use warm eye compresses.
Many people achieve dry eye relief through warm eye compresses. Just ensure you use a different warm cloth for each eye, to avoid spreading any infections from one to the other.
Schedule a visit with your eye doctor.
It is important to find out the reason for your dry eyes, particularly since the condition is often a sign of a health problem. Your eye doctor will diagnose your condition and provide dry eye remedies. Some of these options are over-the-counter lubricating eye drops, prescription medications, lubricating eye inserts and surgical procedures.
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