How to Fight Dry Eye This Winter

How to Fight Dry Eye This Winter

You're not imagining it—the dry, cold and often windy winter weather can cause the uncomfortable feeling of dry eye. 

The Science Behind Dry Eye

First, a bit about what dry eye actually is. Your eyes naturally produce tears that lubricate the surface of the eye every time you blink. When you experience dry-eye symptoms, it's typically a result of one of two things:

1) Your eyes aren't producing enough tears naturally.
2) The tears you are producing aren't high enough quality. Though most people think of tears as just salt water, they're actually made up of oil, water and mucus. Dry eye is often a result of insufficient water in the tear makeup.

In addition to environmental factors like cold, dry weather, dry eyes can be a result of:
  • Age. Dry eye is more common in people over 50. 
  • Gender. Women are more likely to experience dry eye, particularly in relation to hormonal changes associated with pregnancy or menopause. 
  • Environment. Dry, windy or smoky conditions -- as well as seasonal allergies -- are associated with dry eye. 
  • Medical conditions. People with certain autoimmune disorders, diabetes or thyroid problems are more likely to experience dry eye. 
  • Medication. Certain medications like antihistamines, decongestants and antidepressants can reduce tear production. 
  • Screen time. Prolonged exposure to blue light emitting screens can lead to dry eye, in part because people are less likely to blink when staring at screens. 

Is It Dry Eye or Something Else?

Dry eye symptoms are pretty self-explanatory, but the feeling of "dryness" can present in a couple of different ways, including a feeling of scratchiness, stinging, burning, redness, blurred vision, heavy eyelids and excessive tearing followed by dryness.

These symptoms can range from mild to severe, and we recommend seeing a doctor if you're in pain or if the symptoms don't resolve with over-the-counter treatments or lifestyle changes. Symptoms for eye diseases like conjunctivitis and allergies are similar, so if you're not sure, get checked out by a professional.

Treating and Preventing Dry Eye

If needed, your doctor can help you manage dry eye with a prescription medication, but there are also things you can do at home to relieve and prevent dry eye:
  • Use artificial tears. Use sterile, non-irritating artificial tears whenever your eyes are feeling dry. 
  • Blink! Especially when you're at a computer, remind yourself to blink every so often, or take a break and close your eyes. We also recommend using blue light glasses to reduce digital eyestrain and limit your exposure to damaging blue light. Our DigiTec™ blue light blocking glasses reduce glare from computers and LED lights and provide protection against blue light in a wide range of styles
  • Use a humidifier. Increasing the humidity in the air at home or at work, particularly in drier climates or seasons, can make a big difference.
  • Protect your eyes. Wear sunglasses outdoors, especially in sunny, windy or smoky conditions; and choose models with larger frames that protect more surface area. We recommend the Traxion, Cozmoz, Teardrop Aviator, Carina or any of our FitOn styles. Our systems also offer a convenient way to protect your eyes in all conditions with just one frame. Choose from our 4in1, 3in1 or 2in1 in a variety of styles. 
  • Stay hydrated. Your body needs water to make tears, so make sure you're drinking plenty of fluids!