Dry Eye Protection in Cold Weather
In the winter months, our eyes can become irritated and dry due to the freezing winds outside and the dry heat inside. Both of these atmospheres can cause the moisture in our eyes to quickly evaporate, and when tears can’t replenish it quickly enough, we can be left with dry, itchy eyes. When you’re already living with dry eye syndrome, the discomfort and pain can be intense. In this blog, we share tips that can keep your eyes more comfortable this winter.
Dry Eye Syndrome Explained
When you blink, tears move across the front surface of your eye to lubricate it. They also wash away debris and protect you from infections. Some patients do not produce enough moisture to keep their eyes healthy. The condition is called Dry Eye Syndrome.
Dry eye can cause damage to your cornea and other eye tissues because they lack the moisture they require to remain healthy. Fortunately, treatments are available. Depending on the severity of your symptoms, they may be treated with artificial tears, prescription eye drops, medical devices that work on your meibomian glands to help facilitate oil production, and even platelet-rich plasma, a natural treatment derived from your own blood.
Combat Your Symptoms in Winter
Your doctor will recommend the most appropriate treatment for your dry eye syndrome, but there are steps you can take yourself to combat winter symptoms.
Maintain Some Humidity in Your Surroundings
In the winter months, many people turn up the heat to stay warm. However, this can cause moisture in the air to evaporate quickly, leading to dry skin and eyes. To remedy this problem, run a humidifier in your home or office.
Limit Exposure to Heat Vents and Heaters
If you run heaters in your home or vehicle, it can try out your eyes if the heat is concentrated toward your face. Try aiming the heat delivery at your feet instead.
Try Lubricating Eye Drops or Artificial Tears
Eye drops and artificial tears are available over the counter and can be used to moisten your eyes and supplement your natural tears. Before you go out in the cold and wind, apply the drops to your eyes to keep them comfortable.
Wear Sunglasses or Googles When Outdoors
When outdoors, wear sunglasses or ski goggles to retain moisture in your eyes, especially when snowboarding, skiing, or snowmobiling- all activities where air moves quickly across your eyes.
See a Specialist for Chronic Dry Eye
Although the occasional winter-related dry eye episode can usually be managed with over-the-counter products or a change of environment, chronic or severe dry eyes should be treated by an eye care professional.
At Uptown Eye Specialists, we have a dedicated Dry Eye Clinic with a full spectrum of treatments for dry eyes. To learn more about available therapies, please call (416) 292-0330 or contact us online.