With the winter season upon us, you may be wondering how cold weather conditions are impacting your eye health. Between the harsh winter winds outside and the dry heat radiating inside, our eyes are very quickly irritated and dried in the winter months. Being exposed to either of these atmospheres can cause a sudden onset of moisture evaporation inside of our eyes. The outcome: dry, irritated eyes. So, what can you do?
There are a number of solutions to dry eyes in the winter time.
1 – You could start by protecting your eyes with glasses or goggles when outside, especially in windy weather.
2 – Additionally, increasing your intake of omega-3 fatty acids can help stimulate tear production. According to an analysis of several studies conducted by researchers at Harvard School of Public Health and published in the journal Pediatrics, the authors found that healthy pre-term infants who were fed DHA-supplemented formula showed significantly better visual acuity at 2 and 4 months of age, compared with similar pre-term infants who were fed formula that did not contain the omega-3 supplement. – Source
3 – A third remedy for dry eyes in the winter season is investing in a humidifier. Humidifiers help keep moisture in the air. With more moisture in the air, tears evaporate more slowly, keeping your eyes more comfortable. Also, its important to remember that both furnaces and air conditioners decrease humidity in the air. Additionally, be aware of any medications you may be taking, such as antihistamines, sleeping pills, pain relievers, etc., which can reduce your ability to produce tears.
4 – Artificial tears and lubricating eye drops and gels help to provide more moisture and lubrication for the surface of your eye. They are typically used about four times a day, but they can be used as often as needed. Preservative-free solutions are recommended if you wish to use tears more than six times a day.
In addition to the pain caused by dry eyes, another frequent problem for winter eye health occurs when you might attempt to open your unprotected eyes during sports like skiing, snowmobiling, or snowboarding. Your eyes may become red and swollen, feel gritty and painful, and could even suffer permanent damage. Always wear protective goggles or glasses when going outside in low temperatures or winter wind, especially if you’ll be participating in outdoor sports.
A multitude of diseases and conditions can be diagnosed from the eye. If you notice or are experiencing anything different in regards to your eyes, be sure to check with a specialist in medical and surgical eye problems. Make an appointment with an ophthalmologist if your eyes look red, red-rimmed or swollen after you’ve been out in the cold, especially if you have eye pain or blurry vision.