Does Cold Weather Increase Dry Eye Symptoms?
Battling dry eyes in cold weather is an unfortunate side effect of mother nature. While those who have chronic dry eye syndrome experience symptoms year-round, the discomfort can worsen in the dryness of winter. Common dry eye symptoms include red eyes, burning, stinging, itchiness, the feeling that something is in the eyes, light sensitivity, contact lens discomfort, blurry vision and eye fatigue. Cold weather increases dry eye symptoms as the effects of dry and cold weather along with brisk winds further irritate the already sensitive eyes that are prone to dryness.
5 tips for preventing and relieving dry eye eyes during cold weather include:
- Run a humidifier inside. While the humidity drops outside, allow moisture to soothe the eyes when you are out of the elements. Be sure that you are not sitting too closely to heaters, heating vents or other heat sources as the hot air can contribute to dry eyes.
- Protect the eyes when outside. Eye protections such as sunglasses, goggles, visors and wide-brimmed hats can shield the eyes against dryness as well as ultraviolet rays.
- Stay hydrated. Drinking plenty of water can help the body produce a healthy volume of tears. Tears are important in lubricating the eyes as well as removing pollutants and debris that can irritate the eyes. Subsequently, avoid dehydrating beverages such as caffeine or alcohol.
- Because people tend to spend more time indoors in colder months of the year, screen time can increase. Be sure to limit screen time and take frequent breaks from computers, TVs, tablets, smartphones, and other devices. Blink often to keep tears spreading on the surface of the eyes.
- Contact your eye doctor when symptoms cannot be alleviated by the tips above or home remedies such as omega-3 fatty acid supplements, a warm compress or artificial tears eye drops. Treatments will depend on the severity of your dry eye symptoms. In some cases, dry eye may be caused by an eye condition or a defect in the eyelid.
If the winter woes persist with dry eye symptoms and you cannot find relief, do not suffer through the season. Give Kalamazoo Ophthalmology a call at 269-329-5860 or fill out a request form online at WEBSITE and we’ll help you select an appointment time to discuss your dry eye symptoms and provide helpful treatment options.