Winter weather in Wisconsin can be brutal. Cold temperatures, harsh winds and dry air can wreak havoc on your hair, skin and lips. Additionally, it can also affect your eyesight.
One of the most common winter complaints in an eye doctor’s office is about dry eye. Dry, itchy and irritated eyes can be a pain to deal with and seem to be inescapable during the winter months. However, with a little care and a visit to an optometrist in Oshkosh, your dry eyes can be a thing of the past.
What causes dry eye?
Dry eye can occur for a number of different reasons, but a few big ones are usually to blame during winter. For starters, the air in winter doesn’t have as much humidity as the air at other times of the year. This lack of moisture in the air can sap your eyes dry, too. Your eyes do have tear glands to replenish this moisture, but they often can’t produce fluid as fast as moisture is evaporated.
Another cause of dry eye is turning on the heat in your home. If you don’t have a built-in humidifier, the heat your furnace produces is also very dry, meaning the same sort of issue happens. This can also occur when you turn the heat on in your car. Sometimes, heat in the car makes your eyes even more irritated and dry because the hot air might be blowing right into your face.
When the moisture evaporates from your eyes, you may begin to experience blurry vision and slight pain or discomfort. In some cases, your tear ducts will work overtime to rehydrate your eyes, leading to overly watery eyes. If you wear contact lenses, dry eye can be particularly difficult to manage because the contacts can dry or shrivel while still in your eye.
How to treat dry eye
The best way to prevent your eyes from becoming too dry in winter is to stay hydrated, both by drinking water and by “hydrating” your eyes directly. You can do this by applying artificial tears or eye drops a few times a day to keep your eyes moist. An optometrist in Oshkosh can help you select the best type of drops for this issue.
Additionally, consider using a humidifier inside your home. While this won’t prevent dry eye while outside, it can make you significantly more comfortable while you’re home by reintroducing moisture into the air and letting your eyes retain their own moisture.
If you’re a contact lens wearer, try wearing your glasses for a few days while your eyes heal from irritation. Continuing to wear contacts while your eyes are dry and irritated can make matters worse and lead to even more pain. Glasses may also help protect your eyes slightly from wind and hot air blowing into your face.
Visit an optometrist for additional dry eye help
If your eyes continue to feel dry and painful, even after trying eye drops, humidifiers and other methods, you may have a medical condition that requires a doctor’s assistance. Make an appointment with Dr. Jill’s Optical Shoppe, a premier optometrist in Oshkosh. With over 18 years of experience and a wide variety of eye care services, we can help you identify and solve the problem.