Cold weather means reduced humidity, cold winds, and constant indoor heat. These factors can contribute to eye issues such as pain, a burning sensation, and irritation. Quick tear film evaporation can leave the eyes feeling dry and gritty, with the sensation of sand in the eye.
If you suffer from dry eye syndrome, your symptoms can worsen during winter and lead to blurry vision. The following are tips for managing winter dry eye.
Indoor heating helps keep the home comfortable during winter but leaves the air dry. Adding humidity to the dry indoor air can help reduce dry eye symptoms. Increasing moisture in the eye will keep the eyes moist.
You can install an in-house system or invest in a portable humidifier that you can use where you are. You can also get one for your desk at work. It will help keep your eyes lubricated, reducing the gritty dryness.
Adding eye drops or artificial tears to your eyes will help keep them moisturized. Use the drops preemptively instead of waiting until the eyes feel dry. You can get lubricating eye drops or ointments that you can use as often as necessary.
Look for preservative-free versions for frequent use. Avoid eye drops that reduce eye redness as they tend to cause more irritation. You can talk to your eye doctor about the best product for your condition.
Placing a warm compress over your eyes each night can help relieve symptoms of dry eye. Apart from soothing the eyes and reducing swelling, a warm compress can help open clogged oil glands. Tiny glands along the eyelid, known as meibomian glands, produce oil that makes up the tear film. The oil helps prevent the fast evaporation of tears. Blocked glands can cause dry eye syndrome.
Protect your eyes from the elements by wearing sunglasses while outdoors. The wind and cold temperatures can dry out the eyes. UV light can be high in the winter, especially as the sun reflects off snow or ice.
Wearing sunglasses or a hat with a visor while outdoors can keep the eyes moist and safe. Eye protection can help prevent cornea inflammation that can lead to sore, red, and light-sensitive eyes.
Keep your body healthy and your eyes hydrated by drinking plenty of water or fluids throughout the day. It will help keep the membranes moist. You may not feel as thirsty during winter, so you need to make a conscious effort to drink water.
You can also drink fluids such as fresh fruit juice and herbal tea. Avoid beverages that cause dehydration, such as coffee and alcohol. Eating a healthy diet, or taking fish oil supplements, will help improve your eye health.
Avoid sitting in front of an open fire or with heat blowing directly to your face. Car heating and space heaters can cause eye dryness. Smoke from a wood fire can exacerbate dry eye symptoms. Limit your screen time during winter to keep your eyes moisturized. Blink frequently when using your digital devices, and make sure you take frequent breaks.
For more tips for managing winter dry eye, visit Grand Eye Care at our office in River Grove, Illinois. Call (708) 816-2020 to book an appointment today.