Our wardrobes aren’t the only things that change when the weather turns chilly. Our bodies are often affected not only by the outdoor changes, but inside changes as well.
The body part that receives most of the brunt from winter weather is our eyes.
Between the winter winds and the dry heat radiating inside, our eyes can suddenly feel irritated and scratchy this time of the year.
In fact, exposure to these atmospheres can cause moisture to evaporate inside our eyes. As a result, our tear glands cannot adequately produce the fluid needed to maintain the eyes’ protective, liquid coating. The result is itchy, dry eyes that can cause pain, blurred vision, a burning sensation or even watery vision as our eyes try to compensate for the dryness. While it is difficult to avoid dry eyes altogether during the winter months, there are several steps that you can take to ensure your eyes stay soothed this season.
During the winter months, a home’s humidity level can easily dip. Offset this dry air by using a humidifier in your home. An alternative is leaving off the exhaust in your bathroom while you shower. Also, refrain from using a ceiling fan while sleeping at night, as drafts can also exacerbate symptoms.
Even mild dehydration can negatively affect how dry your eyes feel, as cold temperatures can dampen the body’s thirst mechanism and artificial heat hastens tear evaporation. Keep eyes hydrated by sipping water throughout the day. Also, increase your intake of fluid-rich foods like soup, fruits, and veggies. Adding a cup of hot tea or water with lemon can not only keep you cosy on a chilly day, but ensure proper hydration as well.
Many clinical studies show omega-3 fatty acids, which are considered essential fatty acids, may protect adult eyes from dry eye syndrome.
Omega-3s support healthy tear production and keep eyes moisturised. In addition to omega-3s, other ingredients like Vitamin A, D3, green tea and evening primrose oil can significantly accelerate the time it takes to feel relief.
In cold conditions, many complain their eyes water more than normal. Typically the symptoms of watery eye are excessive tearing, which is made worse by being outdoors. Wearing spectacles will provide protection against the wind, even if you don’t usually wear them outdoors.
In some cases, excessive watering of the eyes may be a sign of a blockage of tear ducts or infection of the eye.
If you are concerned about the health of your eyes — whether tear production is suboptimal or you suffer from watery eyes, visit your optometrist.
Your eye care professional will be able to advise you on the best course of action.