Although there are many reasons to love winter — beautiful snow, cozy clothing, hot cocoa, hearty meals, the holidays — one undeniably unfortunate aspect of the season is the dry air. Because colder air holds less moisture, winter can cause issues like dry skin, sore throats, and, of course, dry eyes. Have you noticed that your eyes sting, burn, or feel scratchy in the winter months? Are they more sensitive to light? Is your vision a bit blurry, especially while wearing contacts? You might be suffering from dry eyes. Scroll down to learn how to prevent dry eyes in winter.
Preventing Dry Eyes in Winter
If you’re experiencing an uncomfortable change in your eyes or vision, your first step should always be to make an appointment with an eye doctor. They can evaluate your eyes and determine the best steps for you to take next. But if you’re just taking preventative action, your symptoms are mild, or you’re hoping to go the extra mile to avoid dry eyes, the following tips should come in handy:
Use a humidifier.
One way to combat dry eyes in winter is to simply inject more moisture into the air! Use a humidifier in the spaces you frequent, like your office and your bedroom. This will help keep your eyes more comfortable during the long winter months.
Try not to let air blow into your eyes.
Evaluate your daily routine. Do you ever direct your hair dryer toward your eyes? Are your car’s vents angled to blow air into your eyes? Do you use a heater or fan that blows air right into your eyes? Make some simple adjustments so that your eyes aren’t directly confronting the dry winter air.
Take breaks from tasks that require visual concentration.
Many of us work jobs that require us to stare at screens for much of the day. But even if you don’t, perhaps you enjoy other tasks that require visual concentration: reading, embroidery, completing puzzles, playing games on your phone, etc. When you’re completing tasks like these, try to give your eyes a break every 20 seconds or so. Look away from the task, repeatedly blink for several seconds, or even close your eyes. One commonly recommended trick to avoid eye strain is the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. This trick is also helpful for those suffering from dry eyes.
Give your eyes a break from contacts.
Speaking of breaks, are you someone who wears contacts for most of your waking hours? If so, you may want to trade them for glasses more often in the wintertime. Contacts lens wearers are predisposed to dry eyes. Consider wearing glasses for longer periods when you first wake up and before bed. Wear glasses every other day. Or, wear glasses while you’re at home and switch to contacts when you’re socializing. Use whatever method works for you — just try to limit the hours you spend wearing contacts. In addition, you may wish to explore other contact options with your eye doctor. Sometimes switching to a different type of contact can help relieve eye dryness.
Use artificial tears regularly.
Use eye drops frequently to keep your eyes well-lubricated. Artificial tears are available over the counter and allow you to apply moisture directly to the outer surface of your eyes. Look for preservative-free eye drops, which often come in single-dose vials, to avoid irritating your eyes. It’s also important to use preservative-free eye drops if you’ll be using the eye drops multiple times per day.
Ask your doctor about iLUX2®.
There’s a chance that you’ve been suffering from Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD), which is a type of dry eye. About 86 percent of dry eye patients have MGD! How does MGD cause dry eye symptoms? The meibomian glands produce an oily substance called meibum, which is a crucial component of tear film. If you have MGD, your meibomian glands may be blocked or produce low-quality meibum. To address this, Heffington’s offers the iLUX2® MGD treatment, which helps open the hardened meibomian glands to improve the quality of your tear film. It takes about 45 minutes and provides an entire year of relief! To learn more, check out this video:
Do you suffer from dry eyes in winter? If you live in southwest Missouri, stop by Heffington’s. Since 1975, the Heffington family has assisted the Springfield community with top-quality eye care and affordable eyeglasses and contacts. To learn more about our products and services, please get in touch with us online, send an e-mail to email@example.com, or give us a call at 417-869-3937 (Optiland location) or 417-882-3937 (House of Vision location).