How to combat dry eyes in the winter
If you’re used to living in colder climates, you’re no stranger to the winter months bringing on dry skin, hair, and nails. Our eyes aren’t immune to this weather change either and those who already suffer from dry eyes may be familiar with the added struggles that winter brings. Whether this is new to you or not, we’ll explain why dry eyes can be worse in the winter and what you can do about it.
Who gets dry eyes in the winter?
Dry eyes occur when your eyes either don’t produce enough tears or enough good-quality tears. Good-quality tears usually have some oil in them that helps prevent the tears from evaporating quickly, thereby sufficiently lubricating the surface of the eyes. During the winter months, environmental conditions can aggravate already-dry eyes or produce dry eye symptoms in those who don’t typically suffer from them.
What are the symptoms of dry eyes?
Symptoms of dry eyes include redness, scratchiness, burning, feeling like there’s something stuck in your eye (foreign body sensation) and even watery eyes. This last one happens when your eyes try to compensate for the excessive dryness by producing “reflex”, or very watery tears.
What causes dry eyes in the winter?
There are several causes of dry eyes in the winter, including:
- High winds
- Low humidity levels in indoor environments, especially when the heat is on
- Lower levels of vitamin D caused by the shorter, darker days
- Contact lenses, which can further irritate dry eyes
How to relieve dry eyes in the winter
Here are some tips to relieve dry eyes in the winter:
- Add a humidifier to your home, especially in rooms where the heat is on
- Protect your eyes when you go outside in the cold by wearing sunglasses or goggles if appropriate
- Don’t sit too close to heaters or fireplaces
- Use warm compresses
- Try artificial tears
- Stay hydrated
- Use the 20/20/20 rule if you work at a computer all day, which can put strain on your eyes: every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds
- Take a break from your contacts when your eyes are particularly irritated
There are many reasons you may be considering a laser vision correction procedure like LASIK, but did you know that doing so during the winter has several benefits? Hint: no more foggy glasses! If you’re ready to learn more, book a free, no-obligation consultation to see if you’re a candidate.