What's Causing Your Dry Eyes This Winter?

Posted By Key-Whitman Eye Center || 10-Dec-2014

Dry eye syndrome is an uncomfortable, annoying and sometimes even painful eye condition usually caused by inadequate tear production, which leads to insufficient lubrication on the surface of the eye. Dry eye is one of the most common complaints we hear from patients.

Dry eyes can be caused by a number of factors, including:

  • Long-time contact lens wear
  • Some medications, such as antihistamines, certain blood pressure medicines, antidepressants, birth control pills and medications for Parkinson’s disease
  • Environmental factors, such as temperature, humidity, pollution and windy or dry conditions
  • The natural aging process, especially menopause
  • Medical symptoms such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, ocular rosacea, Sjogren’s syndrome and some eyelid conditions
  • Smoking
  • Insufficient blinking (such as when looking at a computer screen)

Dry eyes can become more common in the winter due to the dry, cold air. The more you run your home heater, the more likely you may be to experience dry eyes. Using your heater reduces the amount of moisture in the air, drying out not only your eyes, but also your skin. The dry winter air can also cause faster evaporation of what little moisture may be inside your eyes, preventing tear production to keep your eyes moist.

Lotion is great for keeping your skin moist during the winter, but what about your eyes? Here are a few ways to keep your eyes moist to treat your dry eyes this winter season:

Drink plenty of water. Water helps keep your entire body hydrated, including your eyes. Drink at least eight glasses of water a day to stay hydrated. Purchase a reusable water bottle, such as a Nalgene bottle, fill it with water and take it with you wherever you go to ensure you are drinking enough water while away from home.

Use artificial tears. Lubricating eye drops help your eyes maintain moisture and are the primary treatment for dry eyes. Your eye doctor will be able to recommend the eye drops that will be most effective for your eyes and give you a prescription for eye drops, if necessary.

Use a humidifier. Your home heater eliminates moisture from the air inside your home, but a humidifier can replace or increase moisture levels inside your home. Increased moisture in your home will help prevent the moisture in your eyes from evaporating.

Wear sunglasses. UV rays from the sun are just as powerful during the winter as they are in the summer. Sunglasses will protect your eyes from the sun’s harmful rays, but they can also protect your eyes from harsh, cold winds, which can dry out your eyes. Visit our Optical Center for our selection of designer sunglasses.

Keep contacts clean and moist. If you wear contact lenses, keep them clean and moisturized to eliminate irritated, dry eyes. Regular use of lubricating eye drops and contact solution will provide the most comfort if you wear contact lenses.

If you suffer from chronic dry eyes, contact us today to schedule a comprehensive eye exam.

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