It’s no secret that winter is here, and with winter comes dry eyes. You may not realize that having dry eyes is about more than the most apparent symptom.
If you’re battling dry eyes, there are many other frustrating signs that winter is taking its toll on your eyes. Keep reading to learn about 6 signs your eyes are getting drier this winter and what you can do to help them feel better!
1. Your eyes are red and irritated
Do your eyes look red and irritated? It’s not just because the air is colder or because you’re spending more time outdoors.
If you have dry eye syndrome, redness and irritation are more common signs to watch out for. Colder winter months may only exacerbate existing symptoms, so if your eyes feel more irritated than usual, you may want to see your eye doctor.
2. Your eyes are often watery for no reason at all
Although people associate dry eye syndrome and dry eyes with eyes that lack moisture and lubrication, watery eyes are another symptom you may develop.
Your tears have three components: water, mucus, and oil. If the tears you produce are missing any of these components, they aren’t healthy. A tear that doesn’t have enough oil, for example, might be too watery and unable to completely cover the surface of the eye to lubricate it properly.
3. You’ve become more sensitive when putting in contact lenses
Putting in contact lenses isn’t something most people look forward to doing, but it’s not usually uncomfortable or painful. But one of the more unfortunate side effects of dry eye syndrome you could develop is sensitivity to putting in contact lenses.
Having dry eyes can make your eyes feel more sensitive, including when you need to take out and put in your contact lenses. Because of this, you may find it too challenging or painful to wear contacts anymore, leaving you only wearing glasses to correct your vision.
Only wearing glasses can be quite inconvenient in the winter, especially if you get frustrated when your lenses fog up.
4. Your eyes feel gritty or sandy
Do your eyes often feel gritty or sandy? Does it sometimes feel like there’s something in your eyes, even when there’s nothing there? These uncomfortable symptoms all point to having dry eyes.
If your eyes feel sandy or gritty, the number one thing to remember is never to rub them! Rubbing your eyes may provide you with temporary relief, but it’s not worth it in the long term.
Chronic eye rubbing can lead to the weakening of the cornea. It can also introduce bacteria into your eyes, resulting in infection.
5. You’re experiencing eye fatigue when you use digital devices
Using digital devices is a necessary part of life. The problem is, your eyes are the ones paying the price.
If your eyes feel tired while using devices like your computer or smartphone, this can be a sign of eye strain. Straining your eyes is another component of dry eye syndrome and may lead to persistent feelings of discomfort.
6. Your vision is blurry
Have you noticed that your vision seems blurrier and more distorted? If you have dry eye syndrome, your eyesight may pay the price. When your tears don’t have sufficient nutrients, they can’t hydrate and lubricate your eyes.
You may notice your vision isn’t as crisp and clear as it used to be if you have an untreated case of dry eye syndrome, especially in the winter.
What can you do to improve dry eye symptoms?
If you’re experiencing dry eye symptoms, the good news is that there are plenty of things that you can do on your own to improve them. Try some of the following:
Drink more fluids, especially water
The human body is made up of up to 60% water, so it should be no surprise that staying hydrated is essential every season of the year! If your eyes are feeling dry, that’s a good indication that you may not be drinking enough fluids.
Combat dry eyes from the inside out by aiming to drink at least eight 8 ounce glasses of water every day. If you don’t like water, you can still stay hydrated by consuming soup and tea.
However, you should make sure that most liquids you drink are water. If you feel thirsty, start drinking a glass or two of water.
Keep artificial tears, or eye drops on hand when irritation hits
With howling winds and colder air constants during winter, dry eyes and irritation are almost guaranteed at some point. Combat feelings of discomfort before they start by keeping artificial tears or eye drops on hand.
You may want to have individual vials of artificial tears that you leave in your bag or purse or a few bottles of eye drops that you keep at home and in your office. If your eyes start to feel scratchy or a little too dry, you’ll have lubrication on hand, providing relief right when you need it.
Practice the 20-20-20 rule if you have to spend time in front of a screen
When you know you have to spend an extended amount of time in front of a screen, utilize something called the 20-20-20 rule. This rule is quite simple.
Every twenty minutes, take a break to look away from your screen at something at least twenty feet away from you for twenty seconds. By following this rule, you’ll give your eyes a break. It’s also the perfect time to put in eye drops if your eyes are feeling too dry.
Invest in a humidifier
Winter is one of the worst times to have dry eyes. Get your dry eyes under control by investing in a humidifier.
Using a humidifier is an easy way to introduce much-needed moisture back into the air. Purchase a few and leave them in the places you spend the most time, like your bedroom and office.
Are you still struggling with dry, irritated eyes? Get the relief you need by scheduling an appointment to discuss your dry eyes and treatment options at Bausch Eye Associates in Allentown, PA, now!