Winter is upon us, and brisk wind and cold temperatures may be drying out your eyes. To brace for the cold, here are some ways to prevent watery and irritated dry eyes throughout this winter season to help you feel more comfortable.
So, What Exactly Causes Dry Eyes?
Dry Eye Syndrome (DES) is a common condition that affects your vision and overall eye well-being. Healthy eyes have a tear film made up of three layers, which keeps your eyes moist, lubricated and comfortable. When the natural tears in your eyes don’t offer adequate lubrication, you may experience an uncomfortable stinging or a burning sensation.
Who Knew? The Seasons Affect Your Eyes!
The changing of the seasons can leave a big impact on the health of your eyes. Cold weather, windy conditions and dry heat can all irritate your eyes, causing them to be dry and uncomfortable. When you are exposed to strong wind or dry heat from radiators, your eyes can have a sudden onset of moisture evaporation. Your tear glands cannot replace fluid quickly enough to keep your eyes hydrated and comfortable in such conditions. This results in that annoying feeling of dry, itchy and irritated eyes.
How Can You Prevent Dry Eye Symptoms This Winter?
Moisture to offset heat in your home – The next time you turn the heat on indoors, consider running a humidifier to help offset the dry air being radiated throughout your home. Also, consider leaving the exhaust fan off while showering to lock in the moisture. Air purifiers can also be used in homes to help clean the air and remove dust particles that could be irritating your eyes.
Proper water intake – Naturally, your urge to stay well hydrated diminishes in the colder months. Even mild dehydration can have a negative impact on the fluid in your eyes that helps them blink comfortably. Make a point to sip on water and eat fluid-rich foods, such as soup, fruit, and veggies this winter. Your entire body benefits from staying hydrated, not just your eyes!
Wear your face mask properly – With the onset of COVID-19, facial coverings have become a staple piece of our wardrobes the past few months. If your face mask doesn’t fit properly, you can be exhaling air up and over your eyes, which can cause tear film evaporation. While following facial covering mandates, be sure your mask hugs your nose and cheeks to prevent exhalations from reaching your eyes and drying them out.
Avoid blasting heat directly in your face – Just as you wouldn’t point a hairdryer directly in your eyes, don’t point the heat vents towards your eyes while warming your car up this winter. Direct the heat to the vents pointed at your feet and utilize the cozy heated seat function to warm up your body and avoid making your eyes dry.
“I have dry eyes – now what?”
There are a variety of treatments options available at Premier Eye Care Group to help alleviate the uncomfortable symptoms of dry eyes. Depending on your unique conditions, treatment can be as simple as eye drops, artificial tears and Omega 3 supplements. Such topical management, in addition to a few lifestyle changes, can give great relief to your dry eyes.
If your symptoms are more severe or such topical treatments do not help, our eye specialists also offer some in-office procedures to help treat your dry eyes. Tear conservative procedures, such as punctual plugs, can help the tears you naturally make stay on the surface of your eye. We also offer two new procedures to treat chronic dry eyes: Blephex and ThermaLid.
Blephex is a procedure used to treat Blepharitis, an inflammatory disease of the eyelids caused by overgrowth of bacteria. This painless, in-office procedure involves an instrument that will eliminate the bacterial debris and biofilm that builds up on eyelids. Think of it as getting a dental cleaning, but for your eyelids!
ThermaLid is an innovative procedure using radio frequency to treat Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD), which is when there are blockages or damages to the natural oils in our eyelids that protects your tear film. During this procedure, gentle heat is delivered to the surface of the eye lid in order to melt the Meibomian Gland blockages. An added bonus of the ThermaLid procedure is that it can also treat unwanted fine lines and wrinkles around your eyes.
Premier Eye Care Group to the Rescue!
Our eye doctors combine decades of experience to work with you to identify the exact cause of your dry eyes and establish the best treatment plan. Whether it’s irritating dry eye symptoms you’re in need of alleviating, or a variety of other vision services, our eye doctors are here to serve you in the Harrisburg, PA and Camp Hill, PA regions.
Our dry eye doctors are ready to treat your eyes with various in-office procedures, including
Blephex and ThermaLid, as well as the use of topical eye drops and artificial tears.
Please contact us today at (717) 232-0843 to discuss your treatment options.