Keep Your Eyes Healthy in Cold Weather
Temperatures are dropping, cold winds are blowing,andyou’re dressing in coats to keep your bodyprotected from the cold. Butyou may be neglecting oneimportantpart of your body in the winter—youreyes.
Freezing air sucks moisture from everything, including your skin and eyes. And when you escape the cold and head indoors, the blast of heat that usually greets you this time of year can dry your eyes out even more.Some of the unpleasant symptoms ofwinter dry eyesare:
- Stinging and burning
- A feeling like sandin your eyes
- Mucus in and around your eyes
- Blurry vision
Dry, irritated eyes are common this time of year, but they don’t have to be. Here are some things you can do to take care of your eyes this winter.
Researchers with theAmerican Association of Ophthalmologistsreviewed 3.4 million visits to Veterans Affairs clinics duringa five-year period anddiscovered that nearly 607,000 patients were diagnosed with dry eye.This condition was brought on by low humidity during spring and winter.
Todetermine whethercertainenvironmental factors are causingyour eyeirritation, seeyour eye doctor for anexam. Dry eyes may also be a symptom of other serious health conditions, so don’t put off seeing an ophthalmologist just because you think cold weather is to blame.Some of the disorders that can cause or contribute to dry eye include:
- Sjogren’s syndrome
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Thyroid disease
- Vitamin A deficiency
During your appointment, tell your doctor about any other health conditions you have and any medications you’re taking. If your doctor determinesthe cold is in factmaking your eyes painful and irritated, follow these tips to restore somepeace and comfort to your life.
Warming up by a fire after walking in from the cold may be a relief, but don’t spend too much time in front of it.Heat causesthetear film on your eyes to evaporate, leaving the surface of your eye vulnerable to drying out.
Alreadydry eyes will become even worse when they’re exposed toicy winds.Wrap-around sunglasses are perfectprotection against windy winter days.If you need help finding a new pair of shades this winter, check out ourbuyer’s guide to sunglasses.
You can purchase over-the-countereye drops or artificial tears as part of yourwinter eye careroutine.Eye drops and artificial tears are reliable remedies for dry eyes. Keep a bottle with you throughout the day to take care of any sudden episodes of irritation.
Ifdrops aren’t doing any good,a dry eye gel might be a good alternative.Dry eyegel is best applied before bed because it might interfere with the clarity of your vision.
Omega-3 Oilscanimprovefunction in the eye’sMeibomianglands, which produce the oily parts of tears. A study of more than 32,000 women found that a higher dietary intake of omega-3 fatty acids is associated with adecreased incidence of dry eye syndrome.Omega-3oilscan be found in:
- Fatty fishes like salmon and tuna
- Flax seeds
- Chia seeds
- Palm and soybean oil
Talk to a Doctor if Your Dry Eyes Persist
If your best effortsdon’t improve things thiswinter,youreyedoctormayneed toprescribea remedy.Schedule an appointmentwithBarnet Dulaney Perkinsto start restoring comfort to your eyes now.
Learn more about thecauses and symptoms of chronic dry eyes.