Dry, irritable eyes can be a pain at the best of times. But, some people only tend to get dry eyes during the winter months. It can be hard to focus on everyday tasks when your eyes feel dry and itchy. In worst cases, some people may even have to take time off work or school due to the irritation it causes.
You may not be able to change the season, but you can treat and prevent the effect it has on your eyes. Keep reading to find out more.
Why do my eyes get dry in winter?
Most people understand how the winter months can affect their skin. Skin is more susceptible to becoming dry and uncomfortable during cold weather, and chapped lips and dry hands are common during this season. However, most people don’t realise that their eye discomfort could have the same cause.
When you don’t have enough moisture or lubricant on your eyes, they become dry and itchy. The conditions of winter mean that tears can evaporate too quickly, or in some cases, tears aren’t produced at all.
Causes of dry eyes
Dry eyes aren’t uncommon, and unfortunately, the weather in winter means that dry eyes are more likely to occur than in spring and summer. Cold, bitter winds and dry air can have a significant impact on the moisture of your eyes.
Your eyes aren’t protected inside either. Lower indoor humidity and central heating can also cause havoc, as heat causes water to evaporate, which can also affect the moisture of your eyes.
How to prevent dry eyes in winter
Although it may seem like the elements are against you and you can’t even escape dry eyes in your own home, there are methods to help you overcome them. You may have to use a combination of treatments, but we recommend trying the following.
Manage your environment
If you can’t escape the cold winter winds, you can help to make your indoor space as comfortable as possible for your eyes. You can try to limit the amount of time you have your heating on to reduce evaporation and save on your heating bill.
However, you may also want to consider investing in an indoor humidifier. This can help return the moisture to your eyes, but also help to keep your skin feeling refreshed. When you use a humidifier, you also won’t have to worry about freezing during the winter.
One thing to keep in mind is that a humidifier can attract mould and bacteria. Therefore, you should make sure to clean it regularly to avoid problems.
Invest in lubricating eye drops
Using eye drops is an effective and quick solution to dry and itchy eyes. Using them adds the moisture that your eyes are lacking, and is similar to moisturising your skin when it gets dry.
Eye drops mimic tears and can be bought over the counter in most pharmacies and opticians. If you use contact lenses, make sure that the formula of the one you are using is contact lens friendly.
Apply your eye drops throughout the day (usually up to 6 times) to combat the dryness. However, you should make sure you read the label and speak to your pharmacist to make sure you are not overusing them, as this can lead to further irritation.
Update your eyecare routine
Aside from using eye drops, you can also take further action to help your eyes regain their moisture. You may be able to purchase eye ointments over the counter, which are a thicker alternative to eye drops and are usually applied to the lower lashline.
Eye ointments should be applied just before bedtime as the thicker formula can lead to blurriness in your vision.
If your eyes feel particularly irritable, and you find yourself itching your eyes often, a warm compress can help to calm them down and reduce redness. Simply soak a flannel in warm water and hold it to your eyes for 10 minutes or so.
A healthy diet for healthy eyes
Your diet can affect your eyes as well as your overall health. If you are lacking in vitamins, then your body will have a harder time recovering from any ailment. Make sure you are eating a varied diet full of lots of fruit and vegetables so that you have the energy and resources you need to recover.
Dehydration can also lead to dryness in your eyes so try to drink up to 8 glasses of water a day. If you are struggling with your diet, dry eye vitamin supplements can be purchased online, and help to give your body what it needs.
Manage your screen time
Watching TV may not make your eyes turn square, but it can be a cause behind the dryness of your eyes. When we watch TV, we tend to blink fewer times due to concentration.
Regardless of whether your eyes are dry or not, try to adopt the 20-20-20 rule. Whenever you have to stare at a screen make sure to look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds every 20 minutes.
Visit the optician if you have irritated eyes
If you are worried about the heath of your eyes or are having problems with your eyesight, you should book an appointment to see your optician. At Reynolds & Slater, our fantastic team is always on hand to help you manage your vision.
Get in touch with us today to book your appointment, or pop into one of our locations in Penzance or Falmouth to have a chat. For more information on how you can manage the health of your eyes, make sure to visit our blog regularly.