If you live in the Northern Hemisphere then you are experiencing winter in its full glory: the snow, the slushy roads, the cold and dry air. Dry eye symptoms get worse in these type of conditions and especially if you suffer from wet dry eyes. Humidity levels drop during winter times and the air can’t hold as much vapor as it used to.
If your home or office does not have a humidifier, chances are the air in there is warm and dry. This causes the humidity in the surface of our eyes to evaporate faster than normal. After dry eye symptoms start flaring up, the brain receives a cry for help signal from your eyes and it responds by sending watery tears to moisture the surface. These tears; however, do not have the right consistency and will only help with symptoms temporarily. “Real” tears come in three types; basal, reflex, and crying tears. It is the basal tears that help keep dry eye symptoms at bay; besides lubricating the eye, they also keep it clear of dust and fight against bacterial infections as part of our immune system.
So what can you do to make winter weather more bearable? Here are a few tricks to keep up your sleeve:
- As we mentioned before, a humidifier in your office or home will do wonders for your eyes.
- Artificial tears will help replenish the lack of basal tears, use them sporadically to prevent your eyes from growing accustomed to them
- Try warm compresses at night or before you start your day to help with tear secretion
- Wearing a hat with a brim will block some of the cold air from hitting your eyes directly
- Wearing sunglasses will do the same plus they help you avoid the reflection of the sun on the snow
- If you wear contact lenses remember to re-wet them often and not wear them for long periods of time – your eyes will need a rest too
Follow these tips and you should be able to survive yet another winter season!
If you have any other tips or suggestions, let us know in the comment box below.