How to Prevent Dry Eye and Protect Your Eyes During Winter Weather

Dry eyes can occur at any time, but for many people, the effects are particularly prevalent during the winter months when cold, winter air, and heated indoor environments combine to make eyes dry, itchy, scratchy, and uncomfortable.

Fortunately, there are a number of things that you can do to prevent dry eye and protect your eyes from this condition during the harsh winter weather.

Use Artificial Tears

As their name suggests, these are eyedrops that replace your naturally produced tear film with an artificial tear film. They can be administered multiple times each day, though if you choose artificial tears containing preservatives, you will be limited as to how often they can be applied and should follow the instructions provided with them. Artificial tears are a great way to hydrate your eyes and relieve your dry eye symptoms, especially if you use them before heading out into cold and windy weather conditions.

patient with dry eye

Drink plenty of fluids

Drinking plenty of water doesn’t only keep your body hydrated, it also ensures that your eyes have enough moisture to be able to function properly and remain comfortable. Aim to consume the recommended 8 glasses of water each day for optimal health and vision.

Wear sunglasses when you are outside

Sunglasses aren’t only for hot, sunny days. The sun is very low in the sky during the winter months and can be just as bright and harmful for your eyes. It can also reflect off of bright white surfaces like snow and ice and cause glare and even corneal sunburn, as well as drying your eyes. Wearing sunglasses will help to protect your eyes from the drying effects of the wind. If it’s an overcast day, prescription glasses will do the job too.

Use a humidifier indoors

The air inside our homes gets much drier in the wintertime – something that is the result of the heating that we use. However, when you ramp up the thermostat you are also increasing your risk of dry eyes. A humidifier indoors will help add some moisture back into the air and prevent or relieve dry eyes.

Limit your use of contact lenses

Contact lenses can be difficult to wear when you suffer from dry eye anyway, but you may not be aware that they can exacerbate your symptoms and irritate your eyes, causing redness, irritation and pain. Not to mention that any winter allergens like dust and mold can also attach themselves to your lenses and make your allergy symptoms worse. Try and limit your use of contacts and stick to wearing glasses as much as possible instead.

Visit your eye doctor for professional treatment

If the steps you are taking to prevent or treat your dry eyes at home aren’t having the desired effect and you are still suffering from debilitating symptoms, it’s time to speak to your eye doctor about what other treatments could help. Many people are surprised to discover that there is a range of different therapies that can help. These range from oral medications and drops that are inserted into the eye to thermal pulsation technologies. Your eye doctor will be able to recommend the best treatment for you based on your personal circumstances.

If you would like to find out more about how to prevent dry eyes and protect your eyes during winter, don’t hesitate to speak to our New York eyecare team. Call 718-565-2020 today to learn more.