10 Ways to Prevent Dry Eyes this Winter
In the winter months, cold winds combined with dry air from indoor heating create a perfect recipe for dry eye symptoms. The harsh conditions can especially impact those with chronic dry eye and Meibomian Gland Dysfunction as the dry air contains less moisture and causes rapid evaporation of tears. Dry eye symptoms include red, gritty, irritated eyes that may itch, water and burn. Following the tips below can help prevent some of the discomfort from dry eyes in the winter time.
- Protect your eyes. Wearing glasses over contact lenses can help keep the cold, dry air out of your eyes. Sunglasses to block out UV rays are also important, even in the winter time. A brimmed hat or visor can further help protect your eyes from the elements. When participating in outdoor winter sports such as skiing and snowboarding, be sure to wear proper fitting goggles.
- Use moisturizing eye drops. Applying artificial tears such as the Hylo drops a few times a day can help reintroduce moisture to the eyes. Consult your optometrist on which drops would best fit your dry eye needs. Other at home treatment options may also be recommended, such as warm compress and lid wipes.
- Use a humidifier. In the winter time, the air contains low humidity not only outside, but with indoor heaters as well. Using a humidifier will help add moisture back into the dry air and prevent your eyes from drying out.
- Stay hydrated. Drinking plenty of fluids will help keep the body hydrated to maintain the moisture in your eyes. Drinking less coffee, which is a natural diuretic, can also help reduce risk of dehydration. On the cold winter days, try a cup of hot herbal tea instead.
- Avoid direct sources of air. Take precautions to keep direct air from blowing into your eyes and drying them out. This may include staying inside on windy days, turning car vents away from your face and avoiding direct air from fans and hair dryers.
- Give your eyes a break. Try to limit use of digital devices and screen time. Remember to take frequent breaks and to blink, as we tend to blink less frequently when looking at screens. Optometrists recommend following the 20-20-20 rule: ever 20 minutes on a screen, stop and look away to a distance of 20 feet, for 20 seconds.
- Avoid rubbing your eyes. It may be tempting to satisfy an itch, but rubbing your dry eyes can do more harm than good. When you rub your eyes, you risk introducing bacteria from your hands into the eyes, which can cause infection. If not careful, you might also scratch your cornea which can lead to permanent damage or vision loss. Try a hydrating eye drop instead to relieve the itch.
- Enhance your diet. Incorporating eye-friendly nutrients can help to reduce inflammation from dry eye. Look for foods high in omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon, tuna, walnuts and flaxseeds. A high quality omega-3 supplement may also be a good option.
- Choose eye safe makeup. Many cosmetic products contain ingredients that are irritating to the eyes. Cold air and wind can lead to watering and the risk of shadows and powders falling into the eyes. Using makeup that is free from irritating ingredients is especially important in the winter time and for those with dry eyes. Twenty/Twenty beauty prioritizes eye health in their products, offering eye safe shadows, liner and lash serum.
- Advanced treatments. Consult your optometrist on advanced dry eye treatment options such as radiofrequency and intense pulsed light. These in-office procedures help relieve dry eye caused by Meibomian Gland Dysfunction and ocular rosacea.
To learn more or shop our dry eye products:
Call us at 519-473-3937 or visit our online webstore: https://komokaoptometry.com/product-category/dry-eye-products/