25 Jan 5 Ways to Combat Dry Eyes in Winter
Winter in Canada means the arrival of frigid temperatures and extreme weather. It’s also a season that brings with it an increased susceptibility to dry eyes. Dry eyes can cause irritation to varying degrees, including redness, itchiness, light sensitivity, and blurry vision, among other symptoms. Symptoms can even become debilitating to some.
If you find you are experiencing dry eyes this winter, it is important to see your eye care professional as soon as you are able to provide diagnosis and relief. In the meantime, however, here are five ways to combat the onset of dry eyes this winter.
1. Artificial Tears
Artificial tears can be a good temporary, over-the-counter solution to combat discomfort caused by winter dry eyes. If you are looking for relief, ensure that you find a brand that is meant to restore moisture to the eyes rather than combat redness. In fact, while redness removal eye drops can provide temporary relief, they may in fact worsen dry eyes in the long run.
Artificial tears should be used as a short-term solution, and use should be accompanied by scheduling a visit to see your optometrist. They will be able to assess the severity of your dry eyes and prescribe a more permanent treatment.
2. Warm Compresses
To help soothe dry eye symptoms while you await your appointment, warm compresses are a good solution. The application of a warm compress can help soothe dry eye symptoms by helping to open blocked oil glands in the eyelids, allowing for better eye lubrication. Soak a clean cloth in warm water and apply it to closed eyes for approximately ten minutes to find relief—and relaxation. You can apply the compress throughout the day as a relaxing break, or make it a part of your bedtime routine.
3. Avoid Heaters
While the winter season may seem the perfect excuse to cozy up in front of a fire, this warming activity may in fact be worsening your dry eyes. Sitting in front of a heat source or air vent evaporates the moisture in your eyes, leading to dry, irritated eyes.
In order to minimize dry eye symptoms in the winter, avoid sources of dry heat such as heaters and fires… even though you may want to stay as close as possible! Car heaters can also be a culprit, as hot air often blows directly into your face. To avoid this, use your car’s floor heaters to stay warm, rather than those at face level.
4. Use Humidifiers
While using heating in winter may dry out your air (and eyes) it can be combatted by keeping your home humidified. The use of heating systems in winter months dries out the air leading to dried out and dehydrated eyes… and worsening dry eye symptoms. Invest in a couple of portable humidifiers and place them in high use areas—such as at your desk or in your bedroom—in order to provide some relief. Whole home humidifiers are a more permanent solution, and will allow you to be comfortable throughout your home.
5. Stay Hydrated and Eat Healthy
Finally, staying hydrated will help to keep both your skin and eyes hydrated. If you do not enjoy water, try adding lemon or drinking herbal tea to boost hydration throughout the day. Avoid drinking caffeinated beverages, such as coffee, as caffeine is a diuretic and can actually dehydrate you, worsening your dry eyes symptoms.
A healthy diet can also help to combat dry eye symptoms. To keep eyes hydrated, eat food rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, or take an Omega-3 supplement, as the healthy fat can help to keep your eyes lubricated. Vitamins A, C, and E can also help support your eyes. Citrus fruits, carrots, avocados, and leafy greens contain these vitamins, and can help support your overall health throughout the winter months.
With these tips, you will be able to minimize your dry eye symptoms this winter season. For long-term dry eye relief, or if your eyes are severely irritated or dry, it is important to visit your optometrist. They will examine your eyes, assess the problem, and discuss various treatment options with you. Dr D’Orio provides specialized treatment plans for dry eyes and can help you combat dryness this winter, keeping your eyes healthy and comfortable!
The optometry team at Dr D’Orio Eyecare can assist you with your vision needs. To book an appointment visit https://drdorioeyecare.com/book-appointment or call us at 416 656 2020 for our Toronto location, or 416 661 5555 for North York.