One of the most common patient complaints during the winter months is dry eyes. In the cooler climates (like Minnesota!) cold winds and dry air, coupled with dry indoor heating can be a recipe for eye discomfort. Dryness and irritation can be particularly debilitating for those who wear contact lenses or suffer from chronic dry eyes – a condition in which the eyes produce a low quality tear film.
Dr. Hasan who also suffers from dry eyes, has a particular interest in treating them. She has been seeing an increase in patients who come in because they feel like something is in their eye, when in actuality dry eyes are to blame. What’s more, having dry eyes can cause your vision to fluctuate . So if you’re noticing increased glare or blurriness, especially when driving at night – you guessed it: once again, dry eyes might be the source.
Whatever the symptoms, dry eyes can cause significant discomfort during the long winters and relief can seriously improve your quality of life. The good news is, the problem is fixable. Here are five tips to keep your eyes comfortable during the harsh winter months:
1. To keep eyes moist, apply artificial tears/eye drops a few times a day. If you have chronic dry eyes, speak to your eye doctor about the best product for your condition.
2. Drink a lot of fluids – keeping your body hydrated will also help maintain the moisture in your eyes.
3. Staring at a computer or digital device for extended amounts of time can further dry out your eyes. If you spend a lot of time staring at the screen, make sure you blink often and practice the 20/20/20 rule – every 20 minutes, look 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
4. Give your eyes a break and break out your glasses. If your contact lenses are causing further irritation, take a break and wear your glasses for a few days. Also, talk to your optometrist about switching to contacts that are better for dry eyes.
5. Protect your eyes. If you know you are going to be venturing into harsh weather conditions, such as extreme cold or wind, make sure you wear protection. Try large, 100% UV protective eyeglasses and a hat with a visor to keep the wind and particles from getting near your eyes. If you are a winter sports enthusiast, make sure you wear well-fitted ski goggles.
If you find that after following these tips you continue to suffer, contact us at Insight Vision Care, 952-486-7858, www.insightvisionmn.com