Winter climates often bring windy conditions outdoors and heat radiating indoors – conditions that promote evaporation of tears from the ocular surface at a pace too rapid for the glands producing tears to effectively keep up with. The result is pain, irritation, blurred vision, itchy eyes, and even reflexive tearing in response to excessive dryness. Here are a few tips on how to avoid dry eye and enjoy the most wonderful time of the year!
Use A Humidifier
Kicking the heat on in your home to stay warm causes humidity levels to drop below the 30-55% range necessary for adequate hydration of your eyes. Using a humidifier is one of the best ways to offset the dry air in your home, helping your eyes stay lubricated. Leaving the exhaust OFF while showering will maximize these efforts!
Clean Your Contacts
Cold environments will cause even more dryness with contact lens wear. Avoid sleeping in your contacts, disinfect them nightly, and follow the disposal schedule prescribed by your doctor.
Redirect Heat Away From Your Eyes
Baby, it’s cold outside…and even colder in your car! Your first reaction to the chilly temperatures in your vehicle is likely to blast the heat — but sitting in front of a forced air vent can dry your eyes as quickly as holding a hair dry up to your face. Direct the air vents towards your lower body, utilize the heat vents at your feet, and/or turn on your seat warmers.
Protect Your Eyes
Wearing eye protection, such as glasses, or a hat with a visor will help protect against harsh conditions (wind, extreme cold) and prevent particles from disrupting your ocular surface.
As summer ends, so does our extreme thirst. Cold climates reduce the body’s thirst mechanism and artificial heat increases tear evaporation. Consequently, even mild dehydration can have a substantial impact on dry eye disease. Stay hydrated throughout the day with maximizing your water intake and increasing your consumption of fluid-rich foods, including fruits, vegetables, and soups.
See Your Optometrist
Dry eye disease and meibomian gland dysfunction are both chronic and progressive. The sooner you implement effective treatment, the less inflammation you will develop.
Season’s Greetings from your family at Bellaire Family Eye Care!
Aamena Kazmi, OD
The Dry Eye Doctor @ BFEC
Check out Just Add Water? A Dry Eye Series by the Dry Eye Doctor.