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10 Ways To Prevent Dry Eye in the Winter

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Woman having dry eye discomfort because of the harsh winter air.

Winter is just around the corner! And while the cold, snowy months bring us many reasons to come together and enjoy each other’s company, they’re also notorious for those unique worries that seem to almost melt away during the spring and summer.

No, we’re not just talking about shovelling the driveway and dead car batteries (although those can be a pain to deal with, too)—we’re talking about dry eye! Dry eye is a common issue many Americans face; so common that we’ve made it a point to have several different types of treatments available to ensure your eyes are hydrated and comfortable.

You may be wondering about what you could do to manage your symptoms before the snow starts to roll in. So today, we’re going to look at some easy strategies you can use in your everyday life to help control dry eye symptoms and achieve the comfort you deserve!

Keeping Your Eyes Comfortable

Your eye comfort is essential to your quality of life. However, winter can bring about a dry, arid climate that can make it challenging to maintain a stable tear film. Couple your dry environment with indoor heaters and high winds, and soon you’ll find yourself dealing with regular eye irritation.

We want you to have the tools you need to properly manage your eye comfort. Here are our 10 useful tips for keeping your eyes comfortable during a Nebraska winter:

#1. Use a Humidifier

Winter has less humidity in the air when compared to warmer months, but turning up your home or office heater can reduce your home’s humidity even further and possibly lead to dry eye symptoms.

Indoor humidifiers are a great way to bring some moisture back into the air. However, make sure you’re cleaning them regularly as humidifiers can collect mold and bacteria over time, which may lead to illness among your family or coworkers.

#2. Apply Eye Drops Regularly

Eye drops are one of the most common ways to prevent and manage dry eye symptoms during the winter. However, we always recommend speaking to our team before purchasing any over-the-counter products as these could include ingredients not suitable for your eyes.

Our eye care team would be happy to help determine what type of eye drop would be best for your dry eye symptoms!

#3. Wear a Warm Compress

Warm compresses, a heated mask that you can place over your eyelids, can help stimulate the flow of oils from your meibomian glands to your tear film. Your tear film’s oil layer is essential to keeping your eyes comfortable, and lack of these oils can lead to evaporative dry eye symptoms.

#4. Use Eye Protection & Sunglasses

While we all would probably love to hunker down at home until the snow melts, we all have to eventually step out and face the winter cold. Winter wind is arid and can affect your tear film when you go outside. On top of this, the snow can also reflect sunlight in nearly every direction and make it difficult to see!

Eye protection and sunglasses can help shield your eyes from wind and reduce the amount of glare reflected in your eyes.

Omega-3 fatty acid supplements laying on a white surface with omega-3 spelled out on wooden blocks around it

#5. Consume Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Your eye health is intrinsically connected to your overall health, meaning that even the foods you ingest can affect your tear film’s quality.

Omega-3 fatty acids can help stimulate the flow of healthy oils to your eye’s tear film. While many foods are rich in omega-3 fatty acids (like salmon, eggs, canola oil, and walnuts), you can also use supplements to promote a healthy tear film.

#6. Remove Your Contact Lenses if They’re Uncomfortable

Contact lenses can bring you the clear, crisp vision you deserve without the need for traditional eyeglasses, but dry eye can make contacts uncomfortable and irritating to wear.

If you’re struggling with your eye comfort while wearing your contacts, try removing them and switching back to your regular pair of glasses for a short time. If you still prefer your contacts over your glasses, speak to our team, and we can help find a specialty pair of contacts that fit your needs!

#7. Sit Away From Heaters & Fans

Who doesn’t love sitting near the heater on a cold winter day? Heaters, however, can blow warm air onto your eyes, making maintaining a stable tear film difficult.

Whenever you can, try to avoid having a heater blow air directly into your face either by facing it away from you or sitting somewhere else entirely.

#8. Drink Lots of Water

Water makes up nearly half of our bodies, and dehydration can lead to several issues, including dry eye.

Always make sure you’re drinking enough water, as this can help hydrate your tear film and keep your eyes comfortable.

#9. Blink Regularly

Blinking is something we do without even thinking about it, but spending lots of time focusing on something close-up (which we can do a lot when we’re indoors) can reduce how much you blink and make it difficult to maintain your eye comfort.

We recommend taking regular breaks from up-close tasks to help give your eyes some time to readjust.

#10. See Your Eye Doctor

If you’re struggling with dry eye symptoms, always be sure to talk to our team! We’ll take a deep look at your tear film needs and provide solutions that soothe your eyes and fit your lifestyle.

Call Us For Help!

Don’t let Jack Frost keep you from enjoying the clear, comfortable vision you deserve—call our team for help!

Our compassionate, individual approach can help manage your dry eye symptoms and provide the relief you need, no matter the weather. Please book your next appointment at Signature Eye Care today!

Written by Dr. Jonathan Knutson

As a Doctor of Optometry, Dr. Knutson’s commitment to patients is his ongoing professional education. He takes pride in staying up-to-date as technology changes to ensure he can provide the latest and greatest care for your eyes. Dr. Knutson enjoys entertaining and is committed to providing a fun and enjoyable experience for his patients. He genuinely cares about his patients, placing utmost importance on the satisfaction of his care and products.
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