Dry Eyes in the Winter and What to do About It

Dry weather can push dry eyes over the edge. When the humidity is low, tears from your eyes evaporate faster which makes them even more dry and uncomfortable.

Most people associate dry eyes with summer when the weather is hot and dry, or when flying on an airplane because the air is so dry. Actually dry eyes is a BIG problem during the winter, when the weather is cold and dry, and indoor heaters dry out the environment even more.

Many of my patients complain about their eyes being dry when they go skiing or hiking outdoors during the winter. They also complain about dry eyes during the summer when the weather is hot, and the air conditioner dries out the air. When you combine the dry weather with heavy computer work, or with the loss of some of our tear producing glands due to age, this frequently results in dry eyes. Dry eyes are not only annoying and uncomfortable, but can lead to blurry vision and fluctuating vision. So how does one combat dry eyes when the weather is dry, or you are traveling?

The first thing is to figure out what the underlying cause is for your eyes feeling so dry. This is where I come in. I have been specializing in the treatment of dry eyes for many years, and have combined the best of the best treatments around to help my patients feel and look their best.

MoisturEyes Dry Eye Spa

Our oily tear making glands tend to get clogged over time, similar to how the pipes in your bathroom or kitchen sink get clogged. We use a glorious heated massage to literally melt and unclog your tear glands so that they can release the trapped oil and bacteria and allow tears to flow out.

Intense Pulse Light (IPL)

We have an effective weapon against dry eyes, and it’s called IPL. Intense pulses of light treat the underlying inflammation that occurs in the oily tear making glands. This restores a healthy environment so that your eyes can make healthy oily tears to lubricate, moisturize and nourish your eyes. IPL also helps your lids look less red and puffy (from being clogged and from inflammatory blood vessels growing where they shouldn’t be), and brightens up the skin around your eyes.

Eye drops

Artificial tears provide only temporary relief for about 20 minutes. Once the drops drain out, your eyes will feel dry again. Using tear stimulation drops has a longer effect by sending a message to your brain to release more of all three layers of tears.

Use a humidifier

A humidifier puts more moisture into the environment. When the room is humid, your eyes will not dry out as much. Get a portable humidifier so you can carry it with you to the office, car and home.

Use a hot compress

The hot compress soothes the eyes by decreasing the oily bacterial plugs which are clogging oily tear making glands. This allows tears to be released to flow from the lids to be spread over your eyes each time you blink.

Drink water, and Eat hydrating foods

Drinking lots of water, and eating hydrating foods like avocado, walnuts and fish, is crucial to keeping the eyes hydrated. This keeps the internal bodily fluids balanced including in the eyes. Cold winters, and hot summers, cause mild to moderate dehydration. Drinking water reintroduces water back to the body to retain its normal fluid levels. Eating hydrating foods gives your body the nutrition it needs to produce healthy tears.

Stay off the computer

Staring at a computer screen or mobile phone for extended periods can cause horrible irritation and dry eyes. Take digital breaks from your phone and computer screen completely for a few minutes, or use the 20-20-20 rule. The 20-20-20 rule means taking 20 minute breaks to look at an object 20 feet for 20 seconds while making sure to blink. This will help relax the eyes and the blinking action spreads tears to lubricate the cornea.

Dry weather can make dry eyes feel worse. By following the above tips, and by treating the underlying cause for your dry eyes can make your eyes white, bright, and feeling happy again! I have helped thousands of patients regain their self-confidence and comfort by treating their dry eyes, including treating myself!

Author
Dr. Elise Brisco

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