How to relieve dry eyes in the winter
Although it might seem simple from the name, dry eyes can actually be pretty complicated. The tears that sooth and lubricate your eyes aren’t just water. In fact, water is only one component in a complex system that also includes mucus and oil. These three substances all help to keep your eye from drying out.
In the winter, when the air is cold and dry, keeping your eyes from drying out is an even more challenging task. Dry environments cause the liquid in your eye to dry out very quickly, making vision care more important. What’s more, during harsh Calgary winters, we tend to spend more time indoors so if you have any dust allergies, these can be exacerbated by longer exposure to allergens.
During the winter, many people assume that dry eyes are always the result of the dry air. This can lead people who have problems with their eyes to dismiss their symptoms as a seasonal inconvenience. Some other reasons people get dry eyes include:
- Side effects from some medications
- Not blinking enough (when watching television, for instance)
- Inflammation from a disease or irritation can block the ducts that secrete water and oil into your eyes
What options do I have to sooth dry eyes?
Fortunately, there’s a lot we can do to combat dry eyes on a daily basis. The two main categories of relief come from either replacing the oils and liquids of our tears with artificial substitutes or making sure that the plumbing in our eye that produces and distributes the tears are working well. Just a few of these solutions include:
- Over-the-counter eye drops with artificial tears. These are effective at treating the symptoms of dry eyes but don’t address the cause of them.
- Lid wipes, like eye drops, perform the function of natural tears by cleaning the eyes of any debris and soothing any irritation.
- Various medications are available that combat the different causes of dry eyes. If you have an infection, for instance, you can get medication that will help reduce any inflammation that is blocking your eye ducts.
- For serious blockages of your eye ducts, medical procedures are also options. Sometimes it’s necessary to physically remove any blockage from your ducts.
At Dr. Bishop & Associates, we have the skills and knowledge to help you with any optical issues you might be having, including dry eyes. If you need vision care or an eye exam in the Calgary area, contact us today to arrange an appointment at our clinic.