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.
Winter Dry Eye
Winter dry eye occurs because your tear glands don’t produce sufficient lubrication, or the tears lack the necessary oils. It’s especially pronounced in winter because there is less moisture in the air. Heated air indoors compounds the problem, as heating causes moisture levels to drop. Then there’s the added risk of winter colds and flu, which bring more eye irritation.
Symptoms of winter dry eye include:
- Blurry vision
- Burning sensation
- Light sensitivity
Those who wear contact lenses may find that contacts become more uncomfortable to wear in cold, dry weather.
Avoiding Winter Dry Eye
If you know you’re prone to winter dry eye, you may avoid it by taking some precautions. Start by using a humidifier in your bedroom and other areas in which you spend a great deal of time. If possible, install a humidifier in your workplace. The more moisture you keep in the air in your home or workstation, the less likely dry eye will affect you. Here are some other ways to minimize winter dry eye potential:
- Keep heat sources directed away from your face. That includes hair dryers.
- Always wear sunglasses outdoors. Sunglasses offer protection from wind and other elements that cause dry eye.
- Take regular breaks from your computer screen. Too much screen time increases the likelihood of dry eyes, and this possibility is exacerbated in wintertime.
- Keeping yourself well-hydrated is vital year-round. By drinking lots of fluids, you can boost the moisture level in your eyes.
- Blink often to keep eyes lubricated.
Note that some medications can cause dry eye. Do not stop taking medications without speaking to your doctor. Your healthcare provider may have treatment alternatives without this side effect.
Winter Dry Eye Relief
When winter dry eye strikes, over-the-counter artificial tears can provide relief. So can warm compresses applied to the eyes for about 10 minutes each time.
If winter dry eye does not improve within a few weeks, seek medical attention.
If your winter dry eye does not respond to home remedies, contact the dedicated eye care specialists at Berks Eye in Reading, Pa. to schedule a consultation. Some patients may respond well to prescription eye drops and other treatments.