FACTS ABOUT WINTER DRY EYES SYNDROME
One part of our body that receives the worst of winter weather is our eyes. And yet, while we take care to hydrate our skin with winter creams and wear chapstick to prevent cracking and flaking of our lips, the eyes are neglected and left completely exposed to the elements, leading to a chronic condition called: Winter Dry Eyes Syndrome (WDES).
WDES is primarily caused when the eyes are in constant contact with cold air that is depleted of moisture. The tear ducts cannot produce sufficient fluid to maintain a film of wetness over them, and without this protection, the eyes become red and itchy. We’re tempted to rub constantly, making the problem worse, and soon we’re dealing with watery, blurred vision and uncomfortable burning sensations that refuse to go away.
Staying indoors and away from the chill doesn’t heal WDES either, because it is the cold, dry air from outside that is being heated and forced inside the home. The warm, arid air we’re living and sleeping with promote dry eye conditions, and there’s a large quantity of air-borne flora and bacteria in circulation as well, that have their own harmful effects.
If you or a member of your family tend to suffer from WDES every year, it is necessary to know that the problem can easily be controlled by taking these precautions before the symptoms set in:
Wear Glasses And Not Your Contact Lenses
Exchange contacts for regular spectacles as they do a better job of holding heat and moisture close to your eyes.
Give Your Eyes A Rest From Electronic Devices
Staring at an electronic screen for a long time dries the eyes as we forget to blink often. Watch less stuff on your devices or at least follow the 20/20/20 Rule: every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
Drink Warm Soup
Cold temperatures have a dampening effect on the body’s thirst mechanism. To defend your body from dehydration that you’re not even aware of, increase the amount of liquid in your diet. Warm soups taste delicious and feel invigorating during winter. Eat more fruits and make an effort to drink more liquid as well.
Include Omegas In Your Diet
Counter dryness and inflammation of tear glands by consuming lots of foods rich in omega 3 fatty acids. Even taking a fish oil supplement during winter will be of great help.
Moisten The Indoor Air
Make constant use of humidifiers in every room you spend a lot of time in. Use indoor houseplants to purify the air of winter-weather bacteria.
Turn On The Car Seat Warmer
Turning on the heater full-blast the moment you get into your car is much like holding a hairdryer straight to your eyeballs. If your car has a seat warmer, try using that more often instead.
Don’t Save Your Sunglasses For Summer
A winter sun is as harmful to the eyes as a summer one. Sunlight reflects off ice and snow causing serious glare, and you need the UV protection of sunglasses when you go outdoors on a cold, sunny day.
Guard Against Snow-Related Injuries
Snow in the eyes sting horribly and if ice-chips get into them by accident, you’re taking a big risk with your eyesight. Make sure that you and your children are always wearing goggles when having snowball fights in the backyard or playing, skiing or snowmobiling outdoors.