Along with the winter blues, the winter can cause dry eyes. Winter means cold temperatures, dry indoor air and heat, and wind; all of which can be annoying to your eye. Winter is the season that many people complain about dry, itchy and watery eyes. Some people also experience temporary blurry vision, feel like there’s a foreign object in their eyes or complain of fatigue. There are things your can do about this.
Since an occasional bout of dry eyes can eventually progress into dry eye syndrome or dry eye disease— which the National Institutes of Health estimate affects 3.2 million women 50 and older and 1.68 million men age 50 and older— it’s important to have your eyes evaluated here at Bright Eyes Vision. We can determine if you don’t have enough water (known as aqueous tear-deficient dry eye), or not enough oil (known as evaporative dry eye or meibomian gland dysfunction). Many times, evaporative dry eye occurs because the oils are thick and not able to be expressed out of the glands. The wind and dry indoor heat in the winter, tend to make the symptoms worse.
If you notice that your eyes tear up while driving, divert your heating vents away from your face and eyes. In the house use a humidifier. The heat blasting in your face can cause your eyes to dry out a lot faster and the film to evaporate. Do you notice your eyes tearing. The cornea (the clear front surface of your eyes) has a defense mechanism called reflex tearing to keep your eyes hydrated at all times. The cornea feels dry and sends a message to your glands to produce more tears.
Depending on the type of dry eye, there are new drugs designed to help dry eyes. Artificial tears, found in the aisles of drug stores or supermarkets, may also be effective and can be used up to four times a day. However, the preservatives in some artificial tears can become toxic to your eyes. If you feel you need drops more often, use preservative-free tears to avoid these preservatives. Be sure to stay away from those that advertise redness relief because they’re more irritating.
Try omega-3 fatty acids. This is fish oil supplement that helps to improve the health of the glands and, therefore, the quality of tear film. Don’t give up after a week as it could take up to 3 months to see any improvement. Aim for 1,000 to 2,000 milligrams a day. Realize that not all omega-3 fatty acids are absorbed the same. Make certain to use one that is easier for your body to absorb and don’t give the “fish burps”. Not certain; give Bright Eyes Vision a call and we can recommend several brands that are good.
Dry eyes are common in post-menopausal women because of hormonal changes but makeup is a big culprit too. Avoid waterproof eye makeup because it’s hard to remove and abrasive makeup remover which can strip the natural oils from the surface of the eye. A better alternative? Coconut oil or BeautyCounter’s Instant Eye Makeup Remover. Retinol, which is found in many anti-aging creams, may also contribute to dry eyes. If you are not certain your makeup contributes to your Dry eyes, try the products from BeautyCounter.
Dry eyes in the winter, spring, summer or fall can be very annoying, but it may lead to a more severe condition. Dry Eye Syndrome can damage the cornea (transparent front surface of the eyes) which may be affect your vision. The best way to prevent this is by having your eyes examined here at Bright Eyes Vision. Dry Eye evaluations are covered by your medical insurance. Give our office a call 267-485-1414.