Is the winter weather giving you dry eyes? It's not uncommon for people to suffer from dry eyes in the colder months of the year. When it's cold, wet and sometimes snowy outside yet warm inside, the combination of the two can cause tears to evaporate quicker leaving behind feelings of irritation, dryness and pain. Unfortunately in persistently cold conditions the eye is unable to produce tears quick enough, so dry eye sensations can continue. Some of us will even experience watery eyes, as our body attempts to compensate for the lack of tear production. However, despite what you make think these tears don't improve the situation, they're called "reflex tears" and don't contain the components that keep the eyes hydrated, only watery.
Here are a few tips to help avoid dry eyes in the winter:
There is a wide range of artificial-tears available to buy over the counter, that can help re-wet your eyes to stop dry and gritty feelings. If you wear contact lenses, there's also a great selection of eye drops on the market that can be applied with your contact lenses in. Our optician, Brendan O'Brien recommends Hycosan Eye Drops from Scope Healthcare he says: "They're the best cure for dry eyes that I've found on the market. All Hycosan eye drops are preservative free, reducing the chance of allergic reaction, and can be used with contact lenses."
When you're focusing on something for a long time the rate you blink is reduced. On average a person blinks around 18 times per minute
, this is halved when looking at a digital device.
You may be wondering what the point of wearing sunglasses on a cold day is, but even in Britain we can get some bright, chilly days and shielding your eyes from the sun is important. Sunglasses will not only provide the necessary UV protection but will also stop any cold wind coming into direct contact with your eyes, and shield them from dust and grit which can also contribute to dry eye.
A Good Night's Sleep
Resting your eyes is very important, as your focus on things throughout the day your eyes get tired, just like the rest of your body and the right amount of sleep will keep them feeling healthy and refreshed.
Recent research by the Brien Holden Vision Institute has shown that regular Omega 3 supplements can significantly improve ocular comfort, as well as being good for the heart and brain. You can buy Omega 3 supplements in most chemists and supermarkets.
Invest in a humidifier for your office or home it can help to maintain the right amount of moisture in the air, replacing the tears lost as a result of the central heating drawing the moisture out of the air.
Studies have revealed that drinking both tea and water can significantly reduce dry eye symptoms
. So in the winter why not drink a few extra glasses to compensate for the cold weather.
Chronic Dry Eyes? New LipiFlow system in the UK
If you're a chronic dry eye suffer, a new 12 minute treatment revealed in the news this week could make all the difference. For people who suffer with evaporative dry eye, caused by the eyes inability to produce enough protective oil in the tear fluid, which in turn causes natural tears to evaporate quicker, the new LipiFlow system could make a huge difference.
The device which presses gently onto the eye works by warming and compressing the eyelids to unblock the meibomian glands where the oil is produced. It's been in use in America for the past six months, and has demonstrated a significant improvement in clinical trials.