What Causes Winter Dry Eye and How To Relieve It

Berks Eye Physicians & Surgeons, Ltd.

Winter brings cold, snow and for many people, dry eye. Due to changes in indoor and outdoor moisture levels, it’s the time of year that dry eye is most common. The good news is that it is often preventable or relieved easily. The dedicated eye care specialists at Reading’s Berks Eye Physicians and Surgeons offer tips on relieving winter dry eye.


Ways to Temporarily Relieve Dry Eye

Berks Eye Physicians & Surgeons, Ltd.
Dry eye Syndrome Symptoms

When the eye produces too few tears or the tears they produce do not offer adequate lubrication, the result is dry eye. The eye care specialists at Berks Eye Physicians and Surgeons explain how to relieve dry eye in the short term. Chronic dry eye, however, requires professional evaluation and treatment.

Dry Eye Causes 

Temporary dry eye can result from the use of certain medications. The side effects of antihistamines and nasal decongestants include dry eye. That is also true of certain drugs prescribed to lower blood pressure, as well as antidepressants and acne medications. Do not stop using prescription drugs without consulting your doctor. Discuss whether there are suitable substitutes that may not cause dry eye.

Here are a few ways to relieve occasionally dry eyes:

1. Artificial Tears

Use over-the-counter artificial tears to soothe mildly dry eyes. Do not use products advertised to reduce redness if your eyes are not red. By constricting blood vessels, they may cause irritation. Artificial tears are applied several times daily.   

2. Reduce Screen Time

Excessive screen time and dry eye often go hand-in-hand. If possible, reduce the amount of time spent staring at screens, including television, and see if symptoms subside. When using screens, take regular breaks and make sure to blink regularly.

3. Omega-3 Supplements

Taking omega-3 fatty acid supplements may relieve dry eye symptoms over time, although they do not provide immediate relief. An alternate or complement to supplements is consuming foods containing large amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, such as fatty fish, walnuts and flax or chia seeds.

4. Stay Hydrated

Hydration is crucial for good health. A lack of hydration may cause various issues, including dry eye. Keep water on hand and drink it throughout the day. 

5. Use a Humidifier

A dry environment aggravates dry eye. Use a humidifier to keep a healthy amount of moisture in your indoor environment.

Permanent Dry Eye Solutions

If dry eye is an ongoing issue, consider permanent dry eye solutions. An eye care professional will determine the source of your chronic dry eye and devise the best solution for your needs.

Prescription medications can reduce eyelid inflammation contributing to dry eye. Other drugs may increase tear production. Other solutions involve contact lenses designed to hold moisture, eye inserts that dissolve slowly and mimic tears, and light therapy accompanied by eyelid massage. Many patients benefit from a combination of therapies.

Contact Us

If you are experiencing ongoing dry eye, contact the dedicated eye care specialists at Berks Eye Physicians and Surgeons to schedule a consultation. You need a definitive diagnosis as to the cause of chronic dry eye for appropriate therapy. We will answer all of your questions and let you know your treatment options.

Understanding MGD

Berks Eye Physicians & Surgeons, Ltd.
MGD Recovery in Reading, PA

If you are suffering from MGD, your symptoms will appear almost identical to those of dry eye syndrome. In fact, MGD is a prime cause of dry eye. Because these two conditions are so closely allied, only a trained professional like the experienced doctors of Berks Eye Physicians and Surgeons can accurately diagnose and treat the root cause of your eye pain or blurred vision.

Oil and Water

The fine layer of moisture on the surface of your eye protects sensitive tissues, lubricates eye movement and promotes clarity in your vision. This layer is actually comprised of water, oil and mucus, and a deficiency in any of these three can lead to irritation and dryness.

When the cause of your discomfort is dry eye syndrome (keratoconjunctivitis sicca), the problem is a decrease in the amount of tears protecting the eye’s surface. When the condition is MGD (meibomian gland dysfunction), the 20 to 30 glands in the lower eyelid that secrete oils or lipids are not working properly. The purpose of these oils is to keep tears from evaporating quickly. When gland function is interrupted, the watery surface of the eye is constantly dissipating, resulting in evaporative dry eye. 

Symptoms for both dry eye and MGD may include pain or a burning sensation in the eyes, itchiness, redness, light sensitivity and blurred vision. Patients may have a feeling that there is a small particle in the eye.

MGD is common in the general population. Risk increases with age, with those over 40 having the highest likelihood of developing MGD. There also seems to be a correlation of MGD with heavy use of eye makeup. Over time, cosmetics can clog the meibomian glands and suppress oil production.

Convenient Solutions

In recent years many exciting new treatment therapies have been developed. The LipiFlow thermal pulsation system uses targeted heat to melt away waxy gland obstructions in as few as eight minutes.

If you would like to learn more about MGD, we invite you to schedule a personal consultation in our Reading office with Dr. Domenic C. Izzo, Jr. at Berks Eye Physicians and Surgeons today.

When to Consult a Doctor About Dry Eye Symptoms

Berks Eye Physicians & Surgeons, Ltd.
Dry Eye Treatment Reading PA

Dry eye disease occurs when your eyes do not produce a sufficient amount of tears, or when your tears evaporate too quickly from the surface of your eyes. The disease commonly causes red eyes, eye fatigue, a gritty or scratchy sensation in the eyes, light sensitivity and blurry vision.


Most Commonly Asked Questions about Dry Eye

Berks Eye Physicians & Surgeons, Ltd.

Dry Eye Treatment Reading PAMillions of Americans are affected by dry eye syndrome, yet there is a lot of confusion about the condition. Below, the team at Berks Eye Physicians and Surgeons answers the most commonly asked questions about dry eye. If you need clarification about any of this information, we invite you to call or email our practice. (more…)

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