How to Manage Winter Dry Eye

Pack Optical, winter, dry eyes,

Dry eye syndrome is a common condition that develops when your tears don’t sufficiently moisturize your eyes. This dryness can lead to a wide variety of uncomfortable symptoms that can worsen in certain environments and seasons, especially winter.

 

Here at Pack Optical in Fort Worth, Texas, Dr. Alisha Poonawala offers a wide range of treatments to manage dry eye and provide relief.

Understanding dry eye

Your tears lubricate your eyes with a mixture of fatty oils, mucus, and water. This complex solution protects your eyes and keeps their surface clear and smooth. Without proper moisture, you can experience a variety of dry eye symptoms, including:

 

 

These symptoms are not only uncomfortable, but they can also make it difficult to perform everyday tasks and can damage your eyes’ surface. Exposure to environments that increase your eye dryness can also worsen your symptoms.

Finding dry eye relief in winter

When you suffer from dry eye, winter can send a shiver up your spine -- but not because of the cold. Between the wind, blasting heaters, and dry indoor air, dry eye symptoms can grow from bad to worse.

 

Fortunately, Dr. Poonawala has the following solutions to help you find relief during the darkest and coldest months of the year.

Get out of the heat

No, you don’t have to live in the cold when you have dry eye. But having heat blasting directly in your face can dry your eyes even faster and make the protective tear film on the surface of your eye evaporate. Whenever you’re in the car or near a heat source, be sure to keep vents pointed away from your eyes. If you have the heat on in your house or work, make sure to run a humidifier in your bedroom or office to add more moisture to dry air.

Use the right eye drops

It’s important to select the right eye drops and not to wait to apply artificial tears until your eyes are dry. You can use preservative-free tears as often as you like, and you can also get artificial tears lubricant ointments for use several times a day.

 

Be sure to avoid eye drops with preservatives and those offering relief from redness, as these can trigger more eye irritation. Dr. Poonawala can also make recommendations for which eye drops provide the best results for your particular dry eye issue.

Break out your shades

You may think of sunglasses as summer wear, but they can offer serious dry eye protection during the winter months. Every time you head outside wearing shades, you can reduce your eyes’ exposure to cold and dry winds. For maximum results, look for sunglasses with large lenses or wraparound frames. Small sunglasses may seem more fashionable, but they offer less protection.

Take blink breaks

Staring at your computer, phone, or tablet for extended periods of time isn’t helping your eyes, especially during the winter months. Research finds that these activities cause you to blink 50% less, and blinking is how tears distribute across your eye. These intense staring sessions also account for at least 22% of dry eye cases.

 

Dr. Poonawala recommends following the 20-20-20 rule to protect your eyes. Every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds.

Get an accurate diagnosis

Approximately 4.9 million men and women over age 50 suffer from dry eye, so it’s essential to have regular eye exams to help identify and manage your condition. During your appointment, Dr. Poonawala can determine if your dry eye is due to not enough oil, not enough water, or too little tear production. Once she knows its cause, Dr. Poonawala can recommend the most appropriate treatments for your dry eye, like prescription medications, low-dose steroid eye drops, or in-office therapies.

 

For more tips on how to manage winter dry eye, call Pack Optical or schedule an appointment using the online tool.

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