As the weather gets colder and the air gets drier, you may start to notice your eyes feel more irritated. This is likely due to dry eye, a condition commonly treated by eye doctors. It occurs when your tears cannot provide adequate lubrication for your eyes. Keep reading to learn more about dry eye and how to prevent it during winter.
Causes of Dry Eye
Dry eye occurs when your tears are unable to provide adequate lubrication for your eyes. This can be due to several factors, including:
- The Weather: Cold, dry air is a common trigger for dry eye.
- Medications: Certain medications, such as antihistamines and decongestants, can cause dry eye.
- Eye surgery: Dry eye is a common side effect of LASIK and other types of eye surgery.
- Natural aging: Our bodies produce fewer tears as we age, which can lead to dry eye.
- Indoor heating: Indoor heating can further contribute to the drying out of the air, exacerbating dry eye symptoms.
Symptoms of Dry Eye
You have dry eye if you feel the following
- Eye irritation
- Stinging or burning eyes
- Excessive tears flowing from the eyes
How To Prevent Dry Eye in Winter
There are a few things you can do to help prevent dry eye this winter, including:
- Use a humidifier: A humidifier can help add moisture to the air, which can help reduce dry eye symptoms.
- Wear sunglasses: Sunglasses can help protect your eyes from the wind and cold weather.
- Limit time spent indoors: If possible, try to spend less time indoors where the air is drier.
If you suffer from dry eye, there are a few things you can do to help manage the condition, including:
- Use artificial tears: Artificial tears can help lubricate your eyes and give relief.
- Avoid rubbing your eyes: Rubbing them can irritate them and worsen dry eye symptoms.
- Apply a warm compress: Applying a warm compress to your eyes for a few minutes can help soothe irritation and redness.
Dry eye can be uncomfortable and even painful, but there are ways to help prevent and manage it. If you are experiencing symptoms of dry eyes and at-home treatments aren’t helping, make an appointment with optometrists in your area. Let Northern Virginia Doctors of Optometry’s experts relieve dry eye discomfort and manage it this winter by filling out our contact form or calling us at the following numbers to set an appointment: (703) 660-9494 (Alexandria), (703) 413-1400 (Crystal City), (703) 522-7676 (Clarendon), (703) 573-1200 (Falls Church) and (703) 467-9080 (Reston).