Everything You Need To Know About Dry Eye In Winter
As the nights draw in and the weather begins to get colder, many sufferers of Dry Eye Syndrome will be worrying about the winter months ahead and what it means for their condition.
What is Dry Eye Syndrome?
Dry Eye Syndrome is a common eye condition that affects one in four people in the UK. As the name suggests, it is a condition that causes a dryness in the eyes. It’s common and isn’t usually anything to worry about, but there are certain factors which could increase the likelihood of you developing Dry Eyes:
– Age (if you’re over 50 then you may be more likely to get Dry Eyes.)
– Underlying health conditions
– Taking certain medications
– Smoking or drinking alcohol
– Wearing contact lenses
– Prolonged screen time
– Frequently travelling by plane
What are the symptoms of Dry Eye Syndrome?
If you suffer with any of the following symptoms, it may be an indication that you’re affected by Dry Eye Syndrome.
– A stinging, burning, itchy or scratchy sensation in your eyes
– A feeling of having something in your eyes
– More grit in the eyes than usual
– Redness around the eyes
– Blurry vision
– More sensitive to light than normal
– Watery eyes
– Difficulty wearing contact lenses
– Difficulty with night time driving
What causes Dry Eye Syndrome?
The main cause of Dry Eye Syndrome is a lack of lubricating tears to the eyes, resulting in the surface of the eye becoming dry and irritated. This can happen for numerous reasons which we’ve previously listed above , but the change in weather and the onset of winter could also aggravate the condition.
Are dry eyes worse in winter?
While people who suffer from Dry Eye Syndrome usually experience symptoms all year round, these symptoms can get worse in winter. During winter, the air becomes colder and bitter winds can create harsh outdoor environments. This weather causes many people to suffer from cold weather conditions like dry skin or chapped lips, and our eyes are no exception.
Furthermore, increased use of central heating and electric heaters makes the air inside our homes and places of work drier, increasing the risk of dry, itchy eyes inside as well as outside.
How do you get rid of Dry Eyes in the winter?
Although you can’t cure Dry Eye Syndrome permanently, the good news is, there are lots of ways to help relieve symptoms of Dry Eyes in the winter.
Drink lots of fluids
This is important all year round, but especially in winter, as keeping your body hydrated helps to maintain moisture in your eyes. Although it’s hard with Christmas and New Year, reducing your alcohol intake can help to alleviate your symptoms. This is because alcohol increases the sugar levels in your blood, which can cause your lenses to swell and blur your vision. Additionally, alcohol dehydrates the body which can leave your eyes feeling itchy or cause a stinging sensation.
Don’t let heat blow directly onto your face
Hot air blowing directly towards your face can reduce moisture in your eyes. So when you are using portable heaters, or car heaters this season, make sure the heat is directed towards your body, not your face, to avoid this problem. Hairdryers could also aggravate Dry Eyes, so where possible, it might help to let your hair dry naturally rather than using a hairdryer.
Don’t get too close to wood-burning fires
We all love a cosy open fire when it’s cold outside. But unfortunately, the smoke can be irritating for sufferers of Dry Eye, especially when the fire is outside as wind can blow the smoke directly towards your face, causing itching and burning sensations. So, it’s best to keep a safe distance away or avoid open fires all together this season if you are suffering from Dry Eye Syndrome. When it comes to fires indoors, ensure that you keep well back and try to keep the door of the stove closed as much as you can.
Increase your Vitamin D intake
Research has suggested that Vitamin D could be able to alleviate Dry Eye symptoms by improving factors linked to the coating of tears that cover the front of the eye. The best source of Vitamin D comes from sunlight, but in winter there is much less of this due to the shorter days. To ensure you’re still getting the right amount of Vitamin D, you can either take supplements or choose to eat foods that are naturally high in it. Some of these include sardines, salmon, red meat or egg yolk.
Wear glasses when you go outside
Harsh winds and cold are the main culprits when it comes to making Dry Eyes worse in winter. Whenever you can, try to wear either sunglasses or wrap-around glasses when you go outside. These will help to protect your eyes from drying winds during the autumn and winter.
Take breaks from too much screen time
Throughout winter, many of us may choose to trade walks outside for watching movies indoors. Dry Eye Syndrome has been linked to too much screen time, as when we stare at a screen for a long time, we don’t blink as often. Blinking helps to keep eyes moisturised, so when we spend too much time on the computer or watching TV it can cause them to become irritated or itchy. Taking regular breaks from the screen can help to improve symptoms – even if you just get up to make a cup of tea!
What is the best over-the-counter medicine for Dry Eyes?
Our VisuXL® Gel can be used twice a day to help relieve symptoms of Dry Eye.
VisuXL® Gel forms a protective cushion over the surface of the eye, protecting it from the worst of the winter weather. It provides 12-hour protection with just one drop, enabling you to go out all day in the cold and all night in a heated house without suffering from Dry Eye symptoms.
To find out more about eye drops and to find an eye drop that suits you and your lifestyle visit our VISUfarma Shop.
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- Preidt, Robert. ‘How to Fight Dry Itchy Eyes this Winter’, Healthday Reporter, Dec. 26, 2017, Accessed August 2021
- Ferrier & Mackinnon Optometrists, ‘Dry January, Not So Dry Eyes’, Accessed September 2022
- Miller, Korin. ‘8 Ways in Keep Winter From Making Your Dry Eyes Worse’ Self, 11th December 2018, Accessed August 2021
- Higuera, Valenica, ‘Creating a Healthy Morning and Nighttime Routine for Chronic Dry Eye’ Healthline, July 24, 2019, Accessed September 2022
- P.Yildirim, Y.Garip Cimen, A.Aslihan Karci, Guler.T, ‘Dry eye in vitamin D deficiency: More than an incidental association’ August 2015, International Journal of Rheumatic Diseases 19(1). Accessed September 2022.
- NHS England, ‘Vitamin D’, Accessed June 2022
- Nall, Rachel. ‘Treating (and Preventing) Dry Eyes in Winter’, Healthline, 30th Sept. 2020, Accessed August 2021
- Nunez, Kirsten, ‘7 Ways to Ease Computer Vision Syndrome’, March 4, 2021, Accessed September 2022
- VisuXL Gel Instructions for Use (IFU)