Winter Eyes

Winter Eyes

Cozied up in our warm homes, working in heated, air conditioned offices, the heat blowing in our faces from the vents when travelling in our cars, combatting the cold causes our skin to become dry and flaky and our eyes can suffer from dryness too. 

When enjoying the winter outdoors we’re exposed to a dry cold atmosphere, often accompanied by wind which can cause the eyes to weep as they produce extra tears to help compensate for the dryness.   Unfortunately, these tears evaporate quickly as they don’t contain any of the important natural oils or mucus to offer sustained relief.  Colds and flu are common place at this time of year which sees us often reaching for an antihistamine to dry things up so we can keep marching on, be aware these medications can also cause eye dryness.

Dry eyes are uncomfortable, itchy and scratchy, they feel tired and often blurry vision can be experienced, at the end of the day you just want to close your eyelids for some relief.   For contact lens wearers these symptoms can be worse and normal long hours of comfortable contact lens wear becomes shorter as the lens dehydrates at a quicker rate with the exposure to drier air. 

There are a number of things you can do to help keep eye dryness at bay; drink plenty of fluids and avoid too many caffeine drinks that cause dehydration.  Heaters dry the air, so consider a humidifier to help add some moisture back into the indoor atmosphere. Eye drops are easy to administer during the day and on the run, worth every drop, they are a day changer. Available in convenient small bottles, Blinks or Refresh can be thrown into a handbag, pencil case or pocket.  Systane have even smaller natty one dose vials and there are sprays too which help add moisture to the whole eye area although I don’t recommend the sprays with eye make up !   If you are wearing contact lenses make sure you have chosen a lubricant or rewetting drops suitable for contact lens wear.

At night treat your eyes to a warm compress for 10 minutes, just a flannel under warm water is all that it takes, close your eyes and let the moist warmth do its magic.  If wearing contact lenses give your eyes a rest, remove them and enjoy your evening wearing your spectacles.  

The combination of dry eyes and rooms with poor ventilation can heighten the risk of eye infections, whether you wear contact lenses or not it’s important to be aware of good hand / eye hygiene, washing hands regularly, try not to rub the eyes, ensure makeup brushes are clean and makeup is removed thoroughly.  Before bed insert a couple of eye drops again, you can also use eye gels such as Polygel which will remain in the eyes for longer while you sleep without running out, be prepared sometimes the gels can cause some blurriness on initial insertion but this will soon dissipate.

Winter is to be enjoyed, it’s a welcome relief to our hot summers in Australia and hopefully these little tips to keep your eyes comfortable during this time of year are helpful for you.  If a dry eye issue persists please see your eye care practitioner.

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