It’s that time of year where cold temperatures, dry outdoor air, and chilling wind can cause you to notice an uncomfortable feeling of dry eyes. During winter, patients frequently ask about how to prevent dry and irritated eyes. Dry eyes often occur during winter and spring as the seasonal changes cause a shift in the humidity of the air outside causing dry and irritated eyes. While we can’t change the weather, we can offer you some advice to help you take care of your eyes this winter.
What is Dry Eye?
Dry eye, also known as ocular surface disease, is a common condition that occurs when your eyes do not produce enough of the right kind of lubrication. Your tears are a mixture of water, fatty oils, and mucus, and this complex mixture maintains a healthy surface on your eyes to provide you with clear vision.
If you are experiencing dry eyes, we recommend speaking with your optometrist before seeking treatment. Though seasonal changes can affect your eyes during the spring and winter, your dry eyes may also be a symptom of an underlying medical condition.
The symptoms of dry eye may include:
- Blurred vision
- Difficulty with contacts
- Eye fatigue
- Eye redness
- Increased sensitivity to light
- Mucus around the eyes
- A stinging, burning, itching, or scratching feeling in the eye
- Watery eyes
Artificial tears or eye drops can be bought over the counter or prescribed and are ideal for restoring moisture to your eyes. Ask your optometrist about which products may be right for your condition.
We recommend using these preventative measures to help you avoid dry eyes this winter.
- Avoid sleeping or sitting directly under or in front of vents
- Blink often
- Protect your eyes outside from harsh winds and UV lights with a wide-brimmed hat or sunglasses
- Remember to give your eyes a break every 20 minutes while working on your computer
- Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water
- Use a humidifier indoors to restore moisture into the air
Suffering from dry eyes during this holiday season can be frustrating. If these treatment options and prevention tips do not offer you relief, schedule an appointment today. Regardless of the cause, we are happy to help relieve your symptoms of dry eyes or any other vision health problems you may be experiencing. For more information about winter dry eyes and treatment, contact St. Lucy’s Vision Center today.