In many parts of the country, the outside world transforms during the winter season. This necessitates changes to our daily routine. Not only do we pull out the sweaters and boots, but we also need to prepare for seasonal issues such as chilled hands, runny noses, and chapped lips. These problems can be frustrating. Others, such as dry eyes, can affect how we get through the day.
Next to the skin, the eyes may get the worst of the winter weather. Winter winds, cooler temperatures outside, and warmer temperatures inside can all affect the quality of the tear film. This film, made up of oil, mucus, and water, is vital to comfort. Dry eyes feel itchy. They burn or sting. And they may water excessively. Here, we discuss a few ways that these sensations may be stopped in their tracks as the weather changes over the next several weeks.
- Headed outdoors? Wear your sunglasses. Sunglasses can shield the eyes from wind and cold, dry air. Anytime you can, keep your sunglasses on.
- Lubricate dry eyes. Eye drops purchased at a local pharmacy do not require a prescription but this doesn’t necessarily mean they’re good for every situation. Dry eye can be a tricky problem that worsens with certain eye drops. The best bet for managing winter dry-eye is to consult with an ophthalmologist regarding eye drops that may be suited to your situation.
- Stay hydrated. The beverages that we gravitate toward in the winter months include coffee and tea. Varieties that contain caffeine could have a detrimental effect on the body because caffeine is dehydrating. Healthier options include warm water with lemon and honey, green tea varieties, and even black teas that are caffeinated but less-so than coffee. It is also necessary to stay mindful about drinking at least 64 ounces of water a day.
- Soothe irritation. Dry, irritated eyes need a little pampering. Applying a warm, moist washcloth soothes inflammation and may also decrease swelling if that has occurred. The combination of warmth and moisture applied externally can also stimulate the gland that produces tears to function optimally.
- Keep life simple. It is better to stare at a book for a good while than to spend an evening in front of a television screen. We rely on digital devices so frequently these days that our eyes suffer unnecessarily. When the weather dries out the eyes, limiting screen time may be ideal.
Dry eyes that persist through the winter or beyond may need a little something extra. Learn more about dry eyes and how to treat them by consulting with Dr. Murrell in our Amarillo office. Call (806) 351-1177 to schedule your visit.