Dry Eye in the Winter

Dry Eye is a common condition that affects millions of Americans on a daily basis.  The prevalence increases during the winter due to exposure to cold, dry outdoor air and dry indoor heat.  Symptoms include a scratchy, burning sensation, pain, blurred vision and even watery eyes as the eyes try to compensate for the dryness.  Dry eye can occur at any age but is more common as we age.  Post-menopausal women are especially prone to dry eyes.

Measures that can be especially helpful in the winter months include using a humidifier which will provide moist air to prevent fluid evaporation from the eyes and will stop the burning and itching before they even start.  Avoiding smoke filled rooms is an important tip to remember too.  It can also be helpful to wear glasses or sunglasses whenever you are outside to keep the cold wind from directly hitting your eyes.  When using your blowdryer, keep your eyes closed to avoid exposure to hot dry air.  Caffeine is a mild diuretic so reduce your consumption to minimal levels.  Increasing your water consumption can be another helpful step.

The main key to treating dry eye when it does occur is moisture, moisture and more moisture.  Keep a bottle of artificial tears like Systane Balance nearby and use up to four times per day, especially right before you go to bed.  The extra moisture with closed eyes will prevent evaporation  and will soothe itchy, burning eyes and help you eyes recover overnight.  Applying a drop when you first wake up can be very helpful too.  If using artificial tears up to four times a day does not solve your dry eye problem, it is time to see your eye doctor for more aggressive treatment.

Leave a reply