When it comes to your eyes during the harsh winter season, there are many factors that could hinder your vision. One of the most common problems people are faced with during the winter is dry eyes. But there are ways to combat the annoying, uncomfortable condition. First, though, you need to understand the causes and symptoms of dry eyes.
Why Do My Eyes Get So Dry?
Dry eye syndrome, or dry keratitis, is caused due to insufficient moisturizing of the eyeball surface with mucus. The reasons for the lack of moisturizing can be many and include:
- Infrequent blinking
- Stress on the eyes due to prolonged or improper computer use
- Overusing contact lenses
- Working in environments with low humidity, dust or tobacco smoke
Since there are so many factors that could cause dry eye symptoms, it’s important to figure out what is causing yours so you can take the right steps to eliminate it.
Protecting Your Vision
Many people experience dry eyes during winters only. Sports enthusiasts, like skiers, snowmobilers and people who just generally love snow, look forward to winters when they can indulge in their favorite sports. What they tend to overlook, though, is that strong ultraviolet rays from the winter sun can harm their eyes unless some protective measures are taken.
Expecting generally grey skies during this time of year, they leave their sunglasses behind. But, the evil UV rays are still there, now using the snow to reflect their harmful rays, ever persistent in their quest to damage our eyes and skin. Ski goggles are indispensable for snowmobilers and downhill skiers as they block not only harmful sunlight but also prevent snow and debris from entering the eyes.
Likewise, fitting protection needs to be worn while shoveling snow, going for a walk in the snow or installing or removing holiday decorations.
During the winter, sun is not the only eye hazard. The air lacks humidity in winters. Cool and dry winter air can irritate your eyes when you are outdoors. This weather can worsen matters for people using contact lenses and make their eyes constantly dry and irritated.
While many of the conditions that cause dry eyes come from outdoor elements, it’s still very possible to feel the symptoms inside too. Heaters used during the winter can further dry up the already dry air, causing dryness of eyes that leads to irritation.
Though in most cases it remains mild, it can cause extreme dryness and irritation, especially when the affected person keeps rubbing their eyes frequently to relieve the pain. It only makes it worse!
Helpful Hints for Minimizing Winter Dry Eyes
Making slight adjustments in your routine can help you avoid these problems during the winter. By putting a few humidifiers throughout your home, you can really see a difference in how your eyes feel. If you can’t get your hands on a humidifier, your best option would be to keep a jar filled with water in your room as water will evaporate and improve humidity in the room.
You may also consider using eye drops like artificial tears available over the counter at local drug stores. Using these a couple of times during the day provides relief from discomfort.
A very easy and healthy way to keep your eyes, and body, moisturized is to drink lots of fluids, especially when the weather is very dry and the heating is on. People are inclined to drink more coffee during winters but in fact they should reduce their coffee intake as coffee contains a mild diuretic which can dry out your eyes even more.
When using a hair dryer, close your eyes or use an eye moisturizer before drying or styling your hair.
Adjusting your computer screen at eye level also really helps to prevent dry eyes. When you keep looking up for long intervals, the naturally produced tears from your eyes evaporate faster, leaving you with itchy, dry eyes.
How to Treat Dry Eyes
Moisture, moisture and more moisture! Keep a bottle of artificial tears handy and use as per suggested and before going to bed. This will help prevent the evaporation of fluids and thus soothe the itchy, burning sensation to help your eyes recover overnight.
Make sure to take breaks throughout the day. Just take five minutes from whatever you’re doing and close your eyes. They’ll thank you for the much needed rest!
If you wear contacts, take them out more often. If you don’t need to be wearing them, then don’t! They only increase the chances and symptoms of dry eyes.
Rubbing your eyes when they are itching and burning is certainly going to worsen the condition. Instead, use artificial tears and keep taking the recommended breaks to lessen the pain.
In most cases taking these simple steps will help protect your eyes during the winter, but don’t ignore the fact that the best way to safeguard your vision is to take appropriate care of your eyes all year long.
Taking Care of Your Eyes
Diet is the most important thing when it comes to healthy vision, but we can’t always get the nutrients, minerals and vitamins that really make a difference. Vitamins A, C and E are essentially needed for healthy eyes. Minerals like zinc, selenium, chromium, copper gluconate, oxidants like Alpha-Lipoic Acid and Bioflavonoids are also great.
But, given the present lifestyle of most people, they just can’t ensure that their daily diets contain all these vital nutrients for keeping their eyes strong and healthy.So, if you can’t get what you need from eating a nutritious diet, eye vitamin supplements are important for maintaining their health and vision.
For more helpful eye care and vision care tips, please visit our main blog page.