||Seasonal Dry Eye: Prevention and Treatment
It’s that time of the year! You want to go outside
and enjoy the brisk air, that cool winter breeze, yet you don’t want to
experience the dry and burning sensation in your eyes that comes along
with it. Winter dry eyes can result from the cold winds outside and the
heat inside that cause moisture evaporation.
Eyes dry out when
moisture evaporation occurs more quickly than our tear glands can
produce fluids to maintain the protective, moist coating around our
eyes. In order to combat this problem, it’s important to increase the
moisture content in your environment in order to counteract the dry air
your eyes are exposed to during the winter. So let’s look at some ways
of preventing the burning, itchy, dry eye effect that is so common in
Dry Eye Prevention Tips
To avoid the onset of
dry eyes in the winter Dr. Tracy recommends the following:
Use a humidifier to prevent fluid evaporation from eyes (and skin).
• Keep your eyes closed or use moisturizing eye drops in each eye
prior to blow-drying your hair.
• Cut back on the amount of
coffee you drink. Coffee contains a mild diuretic that may exacerbate
• Place your computer screen at eye level because
looking up causes the natural tear produced from your eyes to evaporate
more quickly, leaving you with itchy, dry eyes.
• Wear glasses
or sunglasses when you are outdoors to prevent the cold winter wind from
directly hitting your eyes. You can also wear a brimmed hat or hood to
protect your eyes from the winter elements.
• Avoid dusty or
But if you are already experiencing symptoms,
what can you do to treat dry eyes?
Dry Eye Treatment Tips
Moisture, moisture, and yes more moisture is the key.
• Keep a bottle of artificial tears (lubricant
eye drops) close by, and use often and before bedtime.
• Give your
eyes periodic breaks throughout the day by closing them for five
• If you wear contact lenses, switch to wearing glasses at
• Avoid rubbing your eyes because this will only make
things worse. Try applying artificial tears and close your eyes for a
few minutes instead.
• If your dry eyes still persist, see an
ophthalmologist for further treatment options, such as punctal plugs and
Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) therapy.
By following these few simple steps, you can get adequate relief from discomfort for many winters to come.