Dry eyes are prevalent during the winter season because of the cold, harsh winter winds, dry outdoor air, and dry indoor heat. These sudden changes in the atmosphere produce the onset of moisture evaporation inside your eyes. Thus our tear glands do not produce fluid quick enough to maintain the liquid coating that our eyes require to stay hydrated.
According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, approximately 3.2 million women and 1.7 million men over the age of 50 suffer from chronic dry eyes.
How Do You Survive the Winter Season?
From chapped lips to influenza, you have to make plenty of changes to keep yourself in tip-top shape. So, while you know to wash your hands frequently, what should you do if you are dealing with itchy, irritated eyes? The key is to increase the moisture in your eyes and restrict the water from leaving your eyes. While it is difficult to avoid dry eyes altogether during the winter months, there are several steps you can take to prevent them from getting worse.
Minimize dry eyes this winter and reduce discomfort with these simple tips:
• Wear sunglasses to protect eyes from cold wind and excess light.
• Blinking Regularly
• Artificial tears
• Use a humidifier
• Add Omega-3 fatty acids or fish oil supplements to your diet
• Stay hydrated, drink plenty of fluids
• If the condition becomes worse, contact us to schedule your appointment
If these tips don’t help alleviate your symptoms, contact us for a dry eye evaluation. You may have a prevalent but chronic and progressive condition called Meibomian Gland Dysfunction or MGD. MGD occurs when there is a compromise to the meibomian glands’ function or structure in the eyelids that produce the protective oily layer of the tear film. These glands can become blocked over time to no longer produce oils needed for healthy tears. This blockage results in rapid evaporation of your tears and can lead to irritation, discomfort, and, if not treated, gland dropout. A series of evaluations can be performed to determine if you have MGD.
We want our patients to have a safe and fantastic winter, and part of that is knowing you are empowered with eye care knowledge about winter dry eyes and tips to help reduce discomfort.