Changes in weather, such as lower indoor humidity and gusty winds, can result in dry eyes and discomfort. Contrary to popular belief, one of the symptoms of dry eyes is when they water. Dry eyes that water produce tears with insufficient lubricants. Other symptoms include redness of the eye, eye fatigue, lack of clear vision, and sensitivity to light. And be aware that symptoms tend to be worse for dry eyes in winter.
Treatment and Prevention Tips for Dry Eyes:
Use a Humidifier:
Combat the dry indoor air by using a humidifier. Dry heat can cause your tears to evaporate more quickly and worsen dry eye symptoms. To protect your eyes (and skin) from drying out, keep a humidifier on throughout the night. Some humidifiers can even be perched on your desk at work, helping to protect your eyes while you’re at the office.
Avoid Using Fans & Access Heat:
Try not to use fans, particularly at night, as these just create more wind to irritate your eyes.
When we’re focused on a task, we tend to blink less, leading to drier eyes. Make a conscious effort to blink regularly, especially when staring at screens for extended periods.
Treat your eyes to a soothing warm compress. This can help stimulate the production of natural oils in your eyes, providing relief from dryness.
Artificial tears are a method of restoring natural moisture to your eyes. They are available over-the-counter at most drugstores.
Protect Your Eyes:
On windy days, shield your eyes with sunglasses or glasses. This simple act can help block out the harsh winds and protect your eyes from drying out. There also are wrap-around sunglasses that provide even more protection to the eyes.
Over-the-counter eye ointments can help to treat dry eyes. These are thicker than eye drops, and you usually apply them to your inner lower lash line. Because they are thicker, you can ideally apply eye ointments before bedtime. This reduces the likelihood that eye ointments will blur your vision. You can purchase most eye ointments at drugstores. Many are labeled as “PM” ointments.
Clean & Remove Your Contacts Regularly
Keep your contact lenses clean if you wear them. Change your contacts as recommended by your doctor or the manufacturer, and only touch your contact lenses with clean hands. You might need to change your cleaning system from a multipurpose solution to a hydrogen peroxide-based cleaning system. Also, make sure you are rubbing your lenses clean as indicated in the directions. There are no such things as “no-rub solutions.”
Remove Your Makeup
Be sure to remove eye make-up which can clog tear ducts or glands.
Don’t forget to drink plenty of water, even in the winter. Hydration is key to maintaining moisture throughout your body, including your eyes.
Avoid Spending too Long on Your Computer or Phone
Another common problem these days and generally is people spending too long on their computers or smartphones. Research suggests people who are concentrating on their laptops, etc., blink about 60 per cent less frequently than normally. This decreases the chances of the eye remaining properly lubricated. Always take sensible screen breaks – this also applies to TV.
When to Call a Doctor
If home remedies for dry eye don’t help or you find yourself using artificial tears more than four to six times a day, you can schedule an appointment at either our Eldon or Columbia office.
Think you might have symptoms of Dry Eye? Take a Free Dry Eye Assessment here.