Prevent dry eyes while keeping warm this winter!

Chante Roets (B.Optom (UOFS) CAS(SA)

What Causes Dry Eyes?

Dry Eye Syndrome is a common condition that affects not only your vision but also your overall quality of life. A healthy tear film normally keeps your eyes wet and lubricated. Your tear film has 3 layers and Dry Eye Syndrome occurs when these three get out of balance.

Dry eye symptoms can be extremely uncomfortable, and it might prevent you from doing some activities that you really enjoy! During the winter, people are most likely to seek treatment for their dry eye problems due to the cold, dry winter air and the use of heaters. 

Heaters, specifically car heaters, can cause dry eyes due to the dry environment they create and the proximity of the blowing air to the eyes. Moreover, the heat leads the tears to evaporate, leaving the eyes unprotected.

Here are a few ways you can protect your eyes in the winter and reduce your need for dry eye treatment.

  1. Don’t sit directly in front of the heater- To avoid suffering from dry eyes, try to direct the warm air to your body and not your face. If you do wear contact lenses, you may want to switch to eyeglasses when you’re at home with the heater on.

  2. Wear sunglasses/glasses when you go outside- Cold air can also make your eyes irritated and dry, and cold wind can further exacerbate dry eye symptoms. Wear your spectacles or sunglasses to prevent this.

  3. Use a humidifier in your home- A heater definitely destroys the moist air in your home. Humidifiers release water vapor or steam into the air to make it more humid. 

  4. Keep hydrated- Drinking plenty of water is not just for the summer! Consuming extra fluids helps to keep all parts of the body hydrated, including your eyes. 

  5. Use eye drops frequently- There are a lot of drops on the market that are effective and affordable. They will restore the moisture to your eyes and significantly reduce your irritated, dry and itching eyes.  

  6. Eyedrops to be used for dry eye treatment:  All lubricants such as Optive, Systane, ACS, I-Dew, Xailin, Artelac etc.

 Eyedrops safe to use in children:  All artificial tears/lubricants are safe to use, but rather use the preservative free options. 

It depends on what type of dry eye you have. 

Visit your optometrist to confirm which drop will work best for you!