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Winter Eye Blues: How to Protect Your Eyes from the Cold - Boulder Medical Center

Winter is all about crisp afternoons and cold nights, layering up for snowy trips or curling up with a cup of hot chocolate in front of the fireplace. To take it all in — the dazzling Christmas lights, tiny snowflakes, and stunning views – your eyes need to be in tip-top health.
However, harsh winter temperatures, dry air, stinging wind, and even interior heat may irritate and dry your eyes, putting a damper on your winter fun. So how can you avoid dry eye problems this season?

During our colder months, it’s not uncommon to notice that your eyes are drier than normal.
While the weather unfortunately cannot be controlled, there are treatments that you can implement in your daily routine throughout the winter months to help lessen the scratchy, itchy, and even painful sensations that come with dry eyes.
To learn about treatment and preventative options to help you manage dry eyes in the winter, continue reading below!

Understanding Dry Eyes
Simply explained, the quality and amount of your tears are critical. Each time you blink, your eyelids protect, clean, and lubricate your eyes. Natural tears are composed of fatty oils, mucous, and water. These remarkable liquids operate in unison to maintain your eyes. When your eyes get dry, one of the three important layers is out of balance, and either your
tears evaporate too rapidly or your eyes produce insufficient tears. Due to the fact that environmental variables, particularly during the winter months, may hydrate the air, dry eyes are more prevalent during cold weather.

Signs And Symptoms Of Dry Eyes
Dry eyes are a source of discomfort, since they may hurt, burn, or feel scratchy. Additional symptoms include the following:
● Mucus that is stringy in or around the eyes
● Increased discomfort of the eyes as a result of smoke or wind
● Fatigue of the eyes
● Sensitivity to light
●The feeling of something in your eyes
● Difficulties with contact lens use
● Excessive tearing
● Blurred vision, which often worsens at the end of the day or after an extended time of concentrating

Treating Dry Eyes During The Winter Season
Dry eyes may be irritating and bothersome, but the good news is that many treatment options are available to get the best outcomes. The following are many of the most common and effective ways for preventing dry eyes:

Tears produced artificially
Artificial tears are a way to replenish your eyes’ natural moisture. They are accessible without a prescription at the majority of pharmacies. If you use contacts, ensure that the option you choose is compatible.
Throughout the day, attempt to apply the artificial tears multiple times (usually up to six times).
Carefully read the eye drop label: Applying the drops too often may irritate your eyes if they include preservatives.
If you need artificial tears more than six times a day, you may want to speak with your doctor about prescription dry eye treatments.

Ointments for the eyes
Dry eyes may be treated using over-the-counter eye ointments. These are more substantial than eyedrops and are often applied to the inner lower lash line. Because they are heavier, eye ointments are best used before going to sleep. This decreases the risk that eye ointments may cause visual blurring.
The majority of eye ointments are available in drugstores. Numerous ointments are classified as “PM” ointments.

Indoor humidifiers
Using indoor heaters during the cold months is normal, but this is a significant element in winter dry eyes.
Installing a humidifier in your house is one of the most effective strategies to mitigate the impacts of dry hot indoor air. This will guarantee that the air in your room is moist, which will aid in maintaining an adequate amount of lubricant in your eyes.


Warm compress
If your eyes are really inflamed and red, using warm compresses might help alleviate irritation and redness. To calm and rest the eyes, soak a washcloth in warm water and place it over them for approximately 10 minutes.

Reduce the frequency of contact lens wear
Even without the cold winds, contact lenses may be quite drying. Thus, increasing the frequency with which you wear your glasses will assist in lessening the drying impact of contact lenses. If you must use your contact lenses, consider using contact lens-compatible eye drops to help lubricate your eyes while wearing them.

Wear eye protection
Wearing eye protection, such as wrap-around goggles or sunglasses, is also advantageous since it mitigates the effect of the cold, drying winter winds on the eyes. Choose a frame that fits snugly on your face, keeping dust and other particles out of your eyes. This is particularly critical while participating in winter sports like such as skiing or other outdoor activities.

Maintain hydration
Dehydration is a big contributor to dryness throughout our body, including our eyes. This is particularly important in the winter, as low temperatures may suppress the body’s thirst mechanism, while artificial heat and cold winds can accelerate tear evaporation. As a consequence, maintaining a healthy bodily fluid balance with water and fluid-rich meals such as soup and hot tea might help alleviate dry eye symptoms.

Increase your Omega-3 fatty acids
It has been shown that Omega-3 fatty acids are one of the most effective strategies to reduce inflammation in the eyes’ tear glands. If you have a poor intake of this vitamin in your diet, consider taking a fish oil supplement, which will assist to boost the amount of tears in your eyes.


Prevention And Care for Dry Eyes
Winter months are prone to causing dry eyes, and this is not uncommon. Weather conditions such as high winds, low humidity, cold temperatures and the use of indoor heating systems are all potential causes of dry eye syndrome.
By maintaining an eye-healthy lifestyle, and utilizing at-home therapies to restore moisture you may be able to avoid or alleviate the symptoms of dry eye during the winter months. We understand the pain and suffering that may be associated with dry eye issues, but the good news is that you can enjoy the fresh winter air with ease by utilizing these treatment options.


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Sunrise, Florida 33323

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