Tips to Help Dry Eye
The winter season is now in full swing! The chilling effects of the colder months, your environment, and your wardrobe are not the only parts of your life that need winter preparation; our bodies and health are often affected just as much by the winter changes.
Dry, cool air, cold winds, and even drier indoor heating can cause eye irritation, burning, itchiness, redness, and sometimes even excessively watery eyes as more tears are produced to compensate for the dryness. Many people have a chronic feeling that they have something in their eye, and some even experience blurred vision. These symptoms can be debilitating!
Dry eyes are among the most common complaints eye doctors get from patients during the winter season. While it is difficult to avoid dry eyes altogether in the winter months, there are several steps that you can take to ensure that your eyes stay as hydrated and healthy as possible this winter season.
Helpful Tips To Relieve Winter Dry Eyes
- Use a humidifier to counteract the drying effects of indoor heaters or generally dry air. Point car vents or indoor heaters away from your face when the heat is on. Try to keep your distance from direct heating sources, especially if they blow out the heat.
- Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water. If cold water does not appeal to you, try hot herbal tea with lemon or ginger-infused water.
- Protect your eyes when outside. Consider wearing a brimmed hat, sunglasses, goggles, or a visor. Wind, UV rays, and the elements irritate dry eyes even during the colder months. Also, the damaging UV rays can still cause premature eye aging during the winter.
- Soothe dry eyes using a warm compress, and never rub them! Rubbing your eyes will increase irritation and may lead to infection if the hands are not clean.
- Give your eyes a digital break! People blink less during screen time, which is why extensive computer use can lead to dry eyes. Follow the 20/20/20 rule by taking a break every 20 minutes to look 20 feet away for 20 seconds, and make sure you blink!
- Use over-the-counter or prescription moisturizing eye drops. Talk with your eye doctor for guidance on the appropriate product for your needs and your medical history. For many patients, artificial tears and having an eye-healthy lifestyle restore hydration to their eyes.
- If you smoke, consider quitting. If you do not smoke, avoid secondhand smoke since it dries and irritates your eyes (and lungs).
- Eat foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, like fish or walnuts. Also, consider taking omega-3 supplements. These healthy fats also help maintain lubricated eyes and reduce inflammation.
A dry eye can signify many eye conditions ranging from mild to severe. Be sure to see your eye care professional for an annual screening and discuss any symptoms you experience. If these essential tips don’t help alleviate your dry eyes, make an appointment today. Our eye doctors can examine your eyes and help determine the quality and amount of tear production through specialized testing.