The winter season is here! Dry eyes are prevalent during winter because of the cold, harsh winter winds, dry outdoor air, and dry indoor heat. These sudden changes in the atmosphere produce the onset of moisture evaporation inside your eyes. Thus, our tear glands do not produce fluid quickly enough to maintain the liquid coating our eyes require to stay hydrated. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, approximately 3.2 million women and 1.7 million men over the age of 50 suffer from chronic dry eyes. With this in mind, our eye care experts thought it would be helpful to discuss how to manage and avoid dry eyes this winter.
How Do You Survive the Winter Season?
While you know to wash your hands frequently to eliminate germs that will make you sick, what should you do if you have to deal with itchy, dry, irritated eyes? The key is to increase the moisture in your eyes and restrict the water from leaving your eyes. While it is difficult to avoid dry eyes altogether during the winter months, there are several steps you can take to prevent them from getting worse.
Minimize Dry Eyes This Winter and Reduce Discomfort With These Simple Tips:
- Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from cold wind and excess light.
- Make sure to blink regularly, especially while using a computer or during other screen time.
- Utilizing artificial tears.
- Inserting a humidifier into your home or office.
- Add Omega-3 fatty acids or fish oil supplements to your diet.
- Stay hydrated, and drink plenty of fluids.
For anyone experiencing dry eyes this winter, we can a dry eye evaluation if these tips don’t help alleviate your symptoms. You may have a prevalent but chronic and progressive condition called Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD). MGD occurs when there is a compromise to the meibomian glands’ function or structure in the eyelids that produce the protective oily layer of the tear film. These glands can become blocked over time and no longer produce oils needed for healthy tears. This blockage results in rapid evaporation of your tears and can lead to irritation, discomfort, and, if not treated, gland dropout. Our eye care professionals can perform a series of evaluations to determine if you have MGD.
We want our patients to have a safe and fantastic winter, and part of that is knowing you are empowered with eye care knowledge about winter dry eyes and tips to help reduce discomfort. If you have MGD or want to discuss what you can do to manage dry eyes this winter and beyond, contact Georgia Eye Physicians & Surgeons to schedule an appointment with Dr. William Segal or Dr. Marc Lay.