Dry eyes in winter have a range of contributors and causes, and it’s important to cover all of your bases when trying to avoid dry eyes.
Harlem VistaSite Eye Care in New York City provides a full range of eye care services, including solutions for uncomfortable dry eyes in winter. We’ve collected some tips and tricks to help you keep your eyes moisturized and feeling great all winter long!
Winter dry eyes
Dry eye syndrome isn’t exclusive to winter months, but for many, that’s when it’s at its worst. You’re completing the effect of moving from hot, often dry, air inside to cold, often dry, air outside, and this can give your eyes a lot of conflicting signals. If it’s snowy, you’re dealing with extra glare, and if it’s windy, the drying effects on your eyes are exponentially worse.
If you spend a lot of time outside in harsh conditions, whether through your work or because you love to ski or snowboard, the problems can get even worse. You’re facing not only drying factors, but also potential sunburn of your eyeballs and danger of direct eye injury from bits of flying snow, sleet, or ice.
Irritation can lead you to rub your eyes with your mittened hands or the cuff of your coat, leading to further drying effects and irritation. By the end of each day, your eyes can feel like burning, gritty sandpits with no relief in sight.
Dry eye prevention in winter
Fortunately, you can do many things to help prevent eye dryness and protect your eyes from physical damage this winter.
Wear glasses when walking out of doors since they protect your eyes more than contacts do. Sunglasses can cut down on damage and irritation accused by glare, and goggles can provide additional protection if you’re accustomed to participating in winter sports. Transition lenses can help protect against glare all year long, especially in winter when snow blindness can make your eyes feel incredibly strained and tired.
Even if you have incredible urges to rub at your eyes, refrain. This might provide temporary relief, like scratching an itch, but in the long run, it only makes everything worse.
The best thing to do for dry, itchy eyes is to place a warm, damp cloth over them for a period of about 5-10 minutes every hour or so. You should also carry a few bottles of artificial tears; put one in your pocket, gym bag, or purse, one in your bathroom, another in your desk, and a final one in your car for easy access anytime, anywhere.
Inside your home, try to avoid sitting right close to heat sources like fireplaces or electric heaters that dry out the air, as they can make your eyes dry and painful. Invest in humidifiers and houseplants to keep the air full of tiny moisture droplets that can help prevent dry eyes.
Getting help for dry eyes
If you end up with chronically dry, irritated, itchy, or painful eyes every winter, it might be time to get some professional help. At Harlem VistaSite Eye Care, our specialists can correctly diagnose the cause of your dry eyes and recommend solutions, like prescription eye drops, tear duct cleanouts, or amniotic membrane treatments to improve natural tear production to keep your eyes better lubricated.
To learn more, schedule a consultation by calling 646-453-6506, or book online.